Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, thinks that Lewis Hamilton would have won the US GP if he had pitted in the 8th lap.
Despite starting second, Hamilton took the lead in the first lap of the race. However, his championship rival Max Verstappen decided to pit early and opt for an aggressive race strategy. His stop in the 11th lap helped him take the lead back from the Mercedes driver.
The Brackley based team tried their best to take the lead back. But despite having fresher tires in the last few laps, they were unable to do so. A mixture of graining issues and dirty air prevented Lewis from getting close to the Dutchman.
The race in COTA was one where the teams had to take gambles, and it paid off for Red Bull in the end. Andrew Shovlin thinks that the team should have been braver with their strategy on Sunday.
“Had a crystal ball perhaps and realized that the hard tire would have been a better tire for us! Realistically the options to win the race probably boil down to retaining the lead after the very good start that Lewis made by stopping early. Maybe pitting as early as lap 8″, he said.
We would not be able to hold Verstappen back the way he held Lewis, says the Mercedes engineer
“It changes your mindset when you are in P2. As realistically the worst you can finish is P2 given the races will be won by Lewis and Max without other issues a lot of the time.” explained Shovlin.
“But the big question is, could we have kept up? And I am certain we couldn’t have sat on their gearbox in the way that they did to us. As it happened, the best thing we could do when they undercut us was to try to create a bit of a tire offset. But ultimately the race wasn’t quite long enough to have that pay dividends.”
Wrapping up the #USGP, @MercedesAMGF1 leads the F1 Constructors’ Championship by 23 points 👊 @LewisHamilton currently holds P2 and @ValtteriBottas P3 in the F1 Drivers’ Championship. With five more races to go, we’re in for an intense Championship battle! 🤜🤛#WeLivePerformance pic.twitter.com/kfjahqmzGF
— Mercedes-AMG (@MercedesAMG) October 25, 2021
The Silver Arrows will be disappointed with the result because their strategy to keep Lewis out longer cost them in the end. The following two races of the F1 championship are in Mexico and Brazil. Both these tracks have historically been booming hunting grounds for Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton and his team have to be at their best to retake the Driver’s Championship lead from Max Verstappen.