Martin Brundle blames Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes’ pitstop fail as Russian GP point made

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Martin Brundle thinks Lewis Hamilton should have listened to his team and come in for a pit stop earlier during the Turkish Grand Prix. The Sky Sports pundit made the point that the team’s call to bring him in for fresh rubber in the previous race had worked out perfectly, and that the Briton should have trusted his team to make the right decision in Istanbul as well.

Hamilton was told to box with 16 laps remaining, after the team decided a change to fresh intermediate tyres was the right way to go.

But the seven-time world champion overruled that call, opting instead to stay out on the track in the hope he would be able to complete the race without having to stop.

But with only a handful of laps to go, Mercedes opted to pull him in for a change in order to avoid a puncture to his heavily worn tyres, and ensure he would come away with a decent amount of points.

The Brit seemed unaware at first that the stop would make him lose any places, and was clearly frustrated over the team radio when he discovered he had dropped behind Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.

He finished behind both in fifth, and ever since the debate over whether or not it was the correct decision has raged on.

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Brundle was clear when he said he believes the blame lies at Hamilton’s door for overruling his team’s instructions in the first place.

“I think yesterday was a mistake on Lewis’ part,” Brundle told Sky Sports.

“We have seen him overrule the team [before] and it’s worked out very well, actually. For example, in Turkey last year, when he ran right through to the end and it was a glorious victory – one of his finest, actually.

“Yesterday, I think all Mercedes had to do was mimic, to an extent, what Red Bull were doing, try to minimise the pain of him taking an engine penalty and a grid penalty to go with that.

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“So, I think Lewis put his team off balance. They did a bit of a No Man’s Land stop in the end. It was too late in the day for him to use the tyres, but they had to stop.

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“I’m pretty sure if we looked at Esteban Ocon’s tyres in the Alpine, for example, it was down to the canvas and I think, if they had let Lewis run to the end, Pirelli say it wouldn’t have worked out.

“Common sense tells you it probably wouldn’t have worked out, but Lewis felt he wanted to do that.”

Brundle went on to make the point that Hamilton’s team had timed his pitstop to perfection at the Russian Grand Prix two weeks prior, and that was evidence why the Briton should have been more trusting of his race engineer.

“Of course, in Sochi, the previous Grand Prix, he was complaining when he came in the pits, but the team were absolutely right to put the wet tyres on at the end, and he won that Grand Prix.

“So, it’s swings and roundabouts, you have to respect Lewis’ seven World titles and his gut feeling out on the track.

“At the same time, he has to respect the team have got copious amounts of information. They’re watching the entire race, all of the other cars and when they called him in, he kind of put them out of their stride.”

On Monday Hamilton took to social media to play down any suggestion that he was angry with his team for bringing him in when they did.

“It isn’t true to say I’m furious with my team,” he said on Instagram.

“As a team we work hard to build the best strategy possible but as the race progresses you have to make split decisions there are so many factors constantly changing.

Yesterday we took the risk to stay out hoping it would dry, it didn’t. I wanted to risk it and go to the end but it was my call to stay out and it didn’t work.

“In the end we did pit and it was the safest thing to do. We live and we learn. We win and we lose as a team.”

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