Mercedes F1 Director Shovlin Reveals What Forced Them to Make Hamilton Strategic Error

Published 09/06/2021, 3:18 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw


Despite his best efforts, Lewis Hamilton could only finish second in the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985. Although Hamilton looked quick in qualifying and the race, he couldn’t close the gap enough to throw a real challenge to Max Verstappen.

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After the race, Mercedes’ strategy came into question as they failed to make a two-stop strategy work. With the Dutch Grand Prix now in the past, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin addressed their thinking behind the timing of Hamilton’s second pit stop.

Andrew Shovlin admits Mercedes hoped for a different tire choice from Red Bull

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On Lap 39, Hamilton made his second pit-stop for a fresh set of mediums. This left Red Bull with a difficult choice; they didn’t have any medium tires left. However, the Dutchman came in the very next lap for a fresh set of hard tires, which helped him seal the victory.

After the race, Shovlin mentioned tire degradation made a two-stop strategy necessary. He said, “The pace at the front was very quick and the degradation was moving it towards a two stop.”

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during qualifying REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

While admitting Hamilton lost time in the first stop, he revealed the Silver Arrows hoped Red Bull would fit soft tires in Verstappen’s second pit stop. “We lost a little time on the first stop with Lewis going onto Medium and while Max could cover, our pace seemed a bit better on that tyre and we could close and follow more easily,” said Shovlin.

“We didn’t have many options by the final stop, we decided to go relatively early, perhaps optimistically hoping they would take a Soft to cover us but they fitted the Hard and it was working well for them so that was that.”

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Hamilton came to Zandvoort with a three-point lead over Verstappen. Although the Briton took an extra point for the fastest lap on the final lap, his Dutch rival moved back to the top for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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With the Italian Grand Prix coming up this weekend, Hamilton and the Silver Arrows will look to bounce back. Although the Briton trails Verstappen in the drivers’ championship, Mercedes still lead Red Bull by 12 points in the constructors’.

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Can the Silver Arrows pick their first win after the summer break in Monza? Or will Verstappen and Red Bull continue their rich vein of form?

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Sanket Nair

643 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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