Lewis Hamilton’s Austrian Grand Prix didn’t go according to plan. First he got handed a grid penalty minutes before the race started and then received a five second penalty for a collision with Alex Albon in the race itself. However, Hamilton pinpoints the first safety car coming out on lat 25, as the moment that ‘messed up’ his race.
“The fact is here at this track you know that in order to have an opportunity to pass the car in front of you always want to try and go for the opposite strategy,” Hamilton said in a post-race conference.
“Now when you’re in a team like ours, the first car always gets the priority in the stop. And so if you both come out on the same tyres, you’re pretty much stuffed at a track like this, particularly where it’s very, very hard to overtake.
“It’s something like eight-tenths of a second advantage you need on the car ahead to have an opportunity at fighting with them. So I knew that on the same tyre, I would most likely be finishing behind.
“But then obviously the safety car came out and that really kind of messed with things, because I was gonna plan to try and extend my stint as long as I could then stop for the opposite tyre, basically, and just take a risk, because ultimately [when I’m] behind that’s ultimately what I like doing, taking a risk.
“But it didn’t work out that way, and I don’t think it was a big issue. I mean, there was so many other things that came into play.”
The Briton admits he didn’t warn the team he would like to go for a different strategy before his pit stop.
“Well, you know, as the safety car came out, I didn’t know which tyre they’d be putting either.
“I really just hadn’t thought of it, I assumed that they’ll put us on the hard, being that we were quite short and there was still a long way to go, and the hard tyre generally if you stop earlier, that’s the better tyre for the distance.
“As I said, I’m a risk taker. But I didn’t prompt them, and normally before the stop, I would have prompted them, but because of the safety car, there are other things that came into play, and I hadn’t done it, so it’s totally fine,” concluded the six-time champion.