Shovlin Explains Verstappen Role in Baiting a Stubborn Lewis Hamilton at Russian GP

Published 09/27/2021, 7:01 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton shakes hands with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after winning the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Lewis Hamilton won the Russian Grand Prix in the craziest fashion. The Mercedes driver won the race after he changed his tires to intermediates and race leader Lando Norris didn’t. Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin mentioned that the biggest reason for them pitting Lewis was to cover Verstappen.

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Despite fighting for the lead with the McLaren, the German team were worried that Verstappen, who had already pitted for inter tires, could jump them and win the race.

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Mercedes trackside engineer states how they convinced Lewis Hamilton to pit

As reported by Motorsport-Total, just like Norris, Lewis, too, was hesitant to pit. He felt that by pitting, he could have thrown away the win. But Shovlin stated they had to use Max’s pit stop to convince the seven-time world champion to pit.

“The key was to make him understand Max had stopped,” said Andrew Shovlin. (Translated via Google Translate)

Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2014, Grand Prix of Austria, Andrew Shovlin, #44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team), (Photo by Hoch Zwei/Corbis via Getty Images)

He mentioned the team was ready to let Norris win in order to cover Verstappen. Shovlin said, “It was more important to protect yourself against Verstappen, even if that had meant leaving the door open for Lando to win pick up.”

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We were actually hoping for the rain: Andrew Shovlin

It was a good team result for Mercedes in the end as Hamilton won and Bottas finished fifth from the back. But Shovlin stated the team hoped it would rain as it was difficult to pass Norris in the dry.

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“We’d got Lewis up to second and it would have been a straight fight with Lando in the dry, but we were actually hoping for the rain as it felt like that would be our best chance of making it to the top step.

Valtteri was further back at the time it started, so we switched to intermediates early and that paid off, gaining some good points,” said Shovlin.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 26, 2021, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates with the trophy on the podium after winning the race REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

Mercedes have now extended their championship over Red Bull by 33 points. By achieving his 100th race win, Hamilton too took over the lead title lead from Max, and now leads by 2 points going into Turkey.

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Did you agree with Shovlin’s logic to use Max as bait? Let us know.

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Devang Chauhan

478 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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