Lewis Hamilton has bemused Mercedes’ tyre strategy decision-making in a frustrating 2022 Mexico City Grand Prix.
Having opted to gamble on a medium tyre start whilst pole-sitter Max Verstappen started on the soft tyre, Hamilton made a great start to pass his teammate – George Russell for second and managed to keep Verstappen within two seconds until Lap 17 when he slowly began to lose pace.
Mercedes though anticipated higher degradation on Verstappen’s car when he pitted for medium tyres on Lap 26, so opted to pit Hamilton at end of Lap 29 for the hard tyre, which proved futile as Verstappen controlled his tyre management across 45 laps to take victory ahead of Hamilton.
Hamilton consequently finished second but despite feeling that he had enjoyed “a good race”, he believed that Mercedes “didn’t choose the right tyre strategy in hindsight.”
Explaining his thoughts on the strategy, Hamilton commented: “Maybe we should have started on the soft, but obviously we went for the medium, then took the hard to make the one stop work; it looked pretty good on the first stint, but then the Red Bull was just too quick for us – and had the better tyre strategy today as well.
There however were plenty of positives for Hamilton after a difficult season with a pace deficit, as he admitted he felt “very proud” that Mercedes had been able to get as close to Red Bull as they had done in Mexico.
With just two races left in this campaign to preserve his 100% record of claiming a pole position or race victory in every season that he has raced in F1, Hamilton is confident that he can continue to make progress up the pecking order as he looks to chase a fourth-place Championship finish.
Acknowledging that there is still work to do in order to clinch that victory, Hamilton said: “We’re getting closer to the front, and we will continue to push. The last couple of races, we’ve taken a big step forward with the car and I hope we will continue like this for the final two.”
Russell Criticises Lack Of “hindsight” At Mercedes
Russell meanwhile finished fourth after a mistake out of Turn 2 on the opening lap allowed Hamilton and Sergio Perez to pass him, yet echoed Hamilton’s comments of medium to hard tyre strategy not proving to be “… the right one in hindsight.”
Explaining his struggles on the hard tyre after going on alternate strategy to Red Bull and Ferrari, Russell commented: “I couldn’t get the hard tyre working as there was just no grip.
“Red Bull and Ferrari both started on the softs and we need to understand why the other teams opted for the soft as that looked like the right strategy for this race. So that’s clearly our learning for today, as we might have been able to get closer, being on the same strategy.”