Lewis Hamilton Rages At Mercedes Team After Turkish Pit-Stop Blunder

lewis hamilton turkish grand prix 2021

It was a disappointing weekend for F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton at the Turkish Grand Prix, as a mistake in the Mercedes team strategy cost the seven-time World Champion the Championship lead in his battle against Red Bull rival Max Verstappen.

After a wet weekend in Turkey, all teams began the race on intermediate tyres and while the weather dried up in Istanbul, the track did not.

It was a cagey affair and a proverbial game of chess, with the drivers holding out for a dry track that never came, while neither wanting to be the first to go into the pits and show the cards of their strategic decisions.

And as the race progressed, it quickly became apparent that some drivers were looking to take their intermediate tyres all the way to the end if they could, if there wasn’t going to be an opportunity to switch to dry tyres.

The only driver to make that switch was Sebastian Vettel, who on lap 37 took a gamble and opted for the medium compound, figuring the track had drained enough to race on dry tyres. But the decision proved to be costly, as immediately after leaving the pit lane, Vettel’s Aston Martin slipped and slid all over the track, causing a yellow flag.

It resulted in the German having to immediately go back into the pits a lap later to switch back to the wets, a decision he took full responsibility for and resulted in the former World Champion finishing in 18th place, ahead of only the two Haas drivers of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher.

It was to be an even worse day for Lewis Hamilton, however.

Sitting in third place, Mercedes instructed Hamilton to come into the pits on lap 42, his tyres looking worn. Hamilton, feeling like he could get more out of the car responded with a simple “why?”

With Max Verstappen in second, and looking to regain the lead in the Championship, the Mercedes team responded by telling Lewis “New inters is the way to go!”

Disagreeing with the orders of his team, Hamilton told them he felt he could make it to the end of the race without a pit-stop, responding with “I don’t think it is, man!”

Mercedes asked Lewis a second time to come into the pits on the following lap, and again, Hamilton protested, urging his team to reconsider as he told them “I just think we should stay out! Later adding, “I mean, I’m sliding around but it’s OK!”

On lap 51, Mercedes insisted on Hamilton changing tyres, deeming it their “last chance” as the cars behind him were beginning to close the gap. In a sarcastic response to his team orders, Hamilton simply said “Sure…OK!”

The decision immediately backfired, and Hamilton quickly found himself just three seconds behind Pierre Gasly. Wanting to make it known to his team how he felt, Lewis raged “F**k man, why’d you give up that space!?”. His anger was further emphasised as one lap later, Gasly had closed the gap to Hamilton to just one second and when informed of such by his team, Lewis snapped back “Leave it alone man!”

The decision meant that Hamilton dropped from third to fifth place, allowing his rival Max Verstappen to take the lead in the 2021 F1 Driver’s Championship.

Verstappen finished the race in 2nd place, with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas winning his first race of the season, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finished 3rd. The result means the gap in the Championship is just six points with six races to go.

The next race takes place in Austin, Texas on Sunday, October 24.

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