Hamilton says giving Russell DRS “made no sense”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton says he knew Mercedes’ call for him to slow down and give George Russell DRS was not a good idea because he “needed to get as far clear ahead as possible”.

In the final laps of the Japanese Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton was running in P5, George Russell in P6 and Carlos Sainz in P7, Mercedes asked Lewis to slow down and give George DRS, so that he can more easily defend from Sainz.

George at the time was on much older tyres than Lewis and Carlos, because he opted for a one-stop strategy, so he had no chance of holding Carlos off without the DRS boost provided by Lewis.

Lewis did slow down, but Sainz managed to overtake George anyway, and then started attacking Lewis.

After the race, Lewis said he believes Mercedes’ strategy call was not a good idea.

“I don’t think it was a good idea,” the Briton said.

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“When they suggested it to me, I knew that they obviously thought of it from the last race and it made no sense.

“I needed to get as far clear ahead as possible. And I was on my way, I was around two seconds ahead and they asked me to give George DRS.

“So I had to come off the gas down the straight to get him 0.8 seconds behind. Then he got the DRS but then he got overtaken which was going to happen because he was on a one-stop.

“He [Sainz] got past him [Russell] and then he was right on my tail, so not ideal. It made it very, very hard for the last couple laps.

“I think as a team, we’ve got to be grateful for fifth and seventh – it’s better than sixth and seventh,” Hamilton concluded.

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