As everybody knows by now, Lewis Hamilton was the only driver on the grid when the Hungarian Grand Prix was restarted. All other drivers were in the pitlane at the time, having decided to switch from intermediate to slick tyres.
Because the track was rapidly drying, Lewis had to pit on his first lap, which ultimately led to him dropping to the back of the field. Mercedes’ Mike Elliott explains what let do Mercedes’ decision not to pit him on the formation lap.
“Clearly in hindsight we made the wrong choice, but you have to bear in mind those decisions are really, really tricky,” Elliott said in the team’s post-race debrief video.
“We agonised over what tyre to fit at the very start of the race, as it turned out the inter was definitely the right choice because it started raining on the lap to the grid.
“We agonised over what tyre to fit after the red flag and clearly all of the cars fitted inters. And on that lap to the grid, even though all the drivers had fitted inters, clearly others decided to change their mind and we should have too.
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“But the reality is, it’s actually more difficult for us as a team than it is for the other teams. When you are the front car, you can’t see what everybody else is doing.
“You are the lead car. When you are further back in the chain, you can see what others have done and you can change your mind accordingly. You can use that new evidence to your advantage.
“The second problem for us is that we have the first pit box in the pit lane. So, as we’d have come into the pit lane and we’d boxed, all the cars would have been pouring past and it would have been very difficult for Lewis to get out and that would have delayed us.
“The second problem with that, or same problem, but another way of looking at it, is if we had tried to force our way out into the pit lane we could have collided with another car and we actually saw that happen in that sequence of pit stops,” concluded the Briton.