Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has downplayed Lewis Hamilton’s discussion with the pit wall when he was asked to make an extra pit stop in the Mexican GP.
Both leader Nico Rosberg and Hamilton were told to come in after a suitable window to third place Dany Kvyat allowed them to make a free stop and not lose position. The tyre change was essentially a precautionary one after the team inspected the option tyres that came off the cars at the first stop.
One of Hamilton’s showed excessive wear – actually 10% higher than had been predicted – and that prompted concerns about the life of the primes that the drivers had expected to run to the end.
Hamilton actually opted not to come in at the first time of asking, and he ended up losing time to Rosberg, who had two laps on fresh rubber with which to extend his lead.
“It’s emotions and a race driver in a car,” Wolff told this writer. “He needs to question and needs to ask, it’s perfectly reasonable. We have the overview out there. We were down to the canvas on the option tyre [from the first stint], we had the gap, and this is why we decided to do it.”
Hamilton’s questions to his engineer showed that he clearly didn’t understand why the team wanted him to pit.
“That’s why it’s perfectly reasonable to have the discussion. Do I want to have a robot in the car? No. I want to have the best racing driver. The best racing driver is how he is. He questions things, and we saw that with Vettel. It’s absolutely no problem, as long as the team keeps the overview. No issue at all for me.”
“That’s why it’s perfectly reasonable to have the discussion. Do I want to have a robot in the car? No. I want the best racing driver. That’s how it is. He questions things, and we saw that with Vettel. It’s no problem as long as the team keeps the overview. No issue at all for me.”
Meanwhile Paddy Lowe admitted that Hamilton was at fault in not coming in when asked.
“Technically it’s incorrect not to come in when we said,” he said. “Just looking at it from his point of view he clearly just completely didn’t understand why we were doing it. When a guy is driving around at 350kph you can’t really give them a full technical explanation that takes a couple of minutes.”
3 responses to “Wolff on Hamilton: “Do I want to have a robot in the car?””
I couldn’t make my mind up whether Lewis knew exactly what was going on and just had the devil on his shoulder telling him he could steal the win or he didn’t fully understand that Nico had also been instructed to change strategy.
Lewis’s engineer was a bit vague. It could have been interpreted as though Nico had pitted because his tyres were going off rather than under instruction and the team wanted to prevent the same happening to Lewis. In which case Lewis’s would have believed his lead was genuine rather than part of an orchestrated fair & equal strategy.
Wasn’t there a race at Monaco where Hamilton really showed he was on top of his strategic tyre thinking……..? Hasn’t learned since.
True, but when they said ‘safety’ on the radio when he questioned it, that said ‘This is not a topic for discussion’.