Mercedes agree Russell was right to question Japanese GP strategy

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin says double stacking Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at the Japanese Grand Prix “wasn’t the right decision”.

George Russell was running in P6 at the Japanese Grand Prix, when the teams called their drivers into the pits to switch to intermediate tyres.

Mercedes then decided to do a double stack, which meant Russell had to wait for Lewis’ tyres to be changed, before the team started working on his car.

The young Briton was immediately critical, and said over the radio that it was “the worst decision we ever made”. He again repeated the criticism after the race.

In Mercedes’ race debrief video, Andrew Shovlin said George was right to question the team’s decision.

“We’ve gone through all the timing of that and we’ve concluded that no, it wasn’t the right decision,” Shovlin said.

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“We should have done what George was asking which was to give him the lap in clean air.

“Now, we had seen that the intermediates were a lot quicker, so on the extreme wet, you would have lost time on track but the problem was that George and Lewis were a bit too close for us to be able to do the pit stop without losing some time.

“That time ultimately cost George the position to [Yuki] Tsunoda and possibly even the position to Lando [Norris].

“So it gave him a bit more of a challenge to deal with, having to pass those cars to find any clean air,” the Briton concluded.

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