Mercedes Chief Technical Officer James Allison says Lewis Hamilton could have gotten to the end of the Turkish Grand Prix on his original set of intermediate tyres, but not without significant problems.
In Mercedes Turkish Grand Prix debrief James Allison gave his comments on the team’s decision to pit Lewis Hamilton eight laps before the end of the race.
“In all likelihood, we would have got to the end of the race on one set of tyres, able to circulate without difficulty,” Allison said.
“The question is, how quick would we have been? And the evidence there is pretty clear: we would have been very slow.
“Lewis’s lap times were starting to get worse lap by lap by lap, and while he would have made it to the end of the race, the pace would have been quite dismal by the time he got there.”
The Briton said the team now thinks the optimal time to pit Lewis would have been around Lap 36 or 37. However, had they pitted him on Lap 41, when Lewis was originally called in, it would have been “a fourth place type of stop”.
“You can see why, if you are playing a hand of poker like that, you are going to choose the best option and the best option for us, having missed out on the earlier call, was to come in and secure that fifth place.
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“It was a very good performance, the car was very well-balanced, we didn’t seem to suffer as much from the understeer that was fairly prevalent up and down the pit lane this weekend. But I don’t think you could read that automatically into the races to come.
“It was a very strong weekend. We were looking good all the way through, dry, wet, free practice, qualifying, race, we were strong this weekend. But it is an unusual sort of place, it is an unusual sort of tarmac.
“One of our engineers this weekend spoke about the tyres as being in a sort of Goldilocks place this weekend, not too hot, not too cold on an asphalt that is particularly picky.
“We knew that we were very strong but we also knew that the margins between this strength and being more average were quite slender.
“A few degrees here or there and we could have been out to the Goldilocks zone on the hot or the cold side,” concluded the Briton.