Lewis was running in P6, just behind Pierre Gasly, when Mercedes called him into the pits to attempt to undercut the French driver. Unfortunately, not only did it not succeed, but Lewis lost two additional places to Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff explains that the strategy gamble was the only way Lewis could have passed Pierre.
“I think the undercut was the only chance that we had,” the Austrian said after the race..
“We saw the tyre that came off, and there was nothing left, similar to Valtteri [Bottas]’s car.
“There was some communication between him and the strategists, are we undercutting, and we felt the undercut had much bigger potential to kind of jump Gasly.
“And it wasn’t enough.”
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After Hamilton realized he had lost two places, he was not particularly happy with the team, which he made clear in his team radio message.
Mercedes’ Technical Director James Allison says he “can understand why he is unhappy”, and further explains the decision.
“It is always a finely-balanced call and today we picked the wrong one of those two options,” Allison said.
“Lewis still had some rubber left on the tyre for what would have been a few decent laps. But the chances are that Gasly wouldn’t have stopped anytime soon, and our fear was that Gasly was going to simply just stay out there as a road block forever.
“We didn’t have good options either way. We had to make the undercut stick in order to then stop the world falling on our heads as it did today.
“Sadly by choosing the undercut and not making it work, the world did fall on our heads with the subsequent loss of places to Vettel and to Perez,” concluded the Briton.