Lewis Hamilton lost the championship leader once again to Max Verstappen as he ended the Turkish GP in P5. After starting in eleventh place because he took on a new ICE, Hamilton had made his way up even to third place, but a late pit stop made to avoid tyre issues forced him off the podium.
💬 “Strategy calls in conditions like today can be so tough.— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) October 10, 2021
“You have to rely on your Team, accept the choices they make and hope it's the right one - as I always say, we win and we lose together.”
The speed was there, let’s keep pushing in Austin, LH. 👊 pic.twitter.com/1Y0cgBiPV8
In the post-race press session, the British driver said that he had already debriefed his team about the race:
“We have spoken, but there wasn’t really anything to say about it. Good points for the team today, we’ll fight for the next race.”
Hamilton also talked about the turning point in his race, the pit stop timing, and he defended what at time was a hard call:
"Well, the fact is that the track was drying, we didn't know when it would dry or if it was going to dry or not, but it was slowly getting dryer and, for me, I was in third at one stage, and hopeful that I would miss the stop."
"Maybe we could have stopped earlier but at that point you just had no idea if it would have been dry or not, so I don't feel in a particular way about it. It was frustrating at the time because obviously I could see second, and then I was back in fifth," he added.
It was an extremely hard call to make for the decision team, and in the end Mercedes opted for the safer choice of pitting for another new set of intermediates, as the track wasn't dry enough for slicks but it wasn't sure whether his old tyres would last until the end of the race.
"At the moment I only had a limited amount of information, and the team had other information, they see everyone else. For me, it's hard to want to give something up when you don't fully know the whole picture, so that's why you have to rely on your team and accept the choice that they make and hope it's the right one."
"We all say that we win and lose as a team, so I listened to the team today. Could we have stayed out? Who knows, if you look at a couple of other drivers, they dropped off massively and lost positions. It was a risk either way."
Asked how much pressure he feels with fighting for the championship lead against Max Verstappen, the Mercedes driver said he isn't worried about it:
"I don't feel any pressure, I'm very chilled. I don't like losing points, but that's just the way it is."
The World Champion also tried to guess the reason why lately his team looked stronger than Red Bull and said it's not because of something different from previous races:
"Well, we haven't upped anything on the car, so I don't really know why that's the case, maybe the last two tracks we have just driven on are a bit more suited to us. But yeah, the car has been feeling good, it felt great this weekend."
Hamilton concluded hoping that Austin will be as kind to the team as the last races were, and to be able to carry on t(e good form shown by Mercedes:
"Moving forward, Valtteri did a great job today and if we can continue to follow on that over the next races it'll be good for the team, and if the car continues to behave as it has this weekend, that'll be good for us."