Lewis Hamilton secured the team’s eleventh podium of the season, driving a brilliant race after starting from the pit-lane and finishing third just ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in fourth position.
After a downpour of rain in the final hour before the race, all teams were forced to start on the intermediate tyres. Lewis ran a two-stop strategy, pitting on laps 8 and 39, running inters/option/prime. Nico ran to a three-stop strategy, pitting on laps 9, 32 and 56, running inters/option/option/option. The team has now finished on the podium in every race in 2014 so far and today secured 27 more points in the constructors’ championship. The team now heads into the summer break with a 174 point lead in the championship with 8 races remaining.
Lewis Hamilton: It is a great result today; I was just pushing as hard as possible to get as high as I could. It was obviously damage limitation after what happened yesterday. I can’t express the pain I feel when we have issues such as in the last couple of races; it’s hard to swallow and difficult to come back the next day and get the right balance between not attacking too much, but pushing to the limit. The two safety car periods helped quite a lot, but naturally I looked fast and had the pace this weekend, so there was an opportunity for more points. I was in the same race as Nico and if I let him past and he had the opportunity to pull away, then he would have come back and overtaken me. I didn’t understand why the team asked me to do that as he didn’t get close enough to overtake and I didn’t want to lift off and lose ground to Fernando. I would like to say a big congratulations to Daniel and Fernando. It was close at the end and it was getting very hard to keep Nico behind as he was catching at close to 3 seconds a lap. Coming back through shows how great this car and team is, and this result is much more satisfying than an easy win. Going into the break, I’m still in the fight for the championship, which is very satisfying.
Nico Rosberg: That was a disappointing afternoon. A few things didn’t work out for me and it was a very up and down race. In the beginning it was all under control. Unfortunately the safety car cost me the lead, because I just missed the pit entry and then I couldn’t pit. I also had some braking issues after the safety car went in and a difficult period of time with handling this, which cost me some positions. Then I was able to push a lot. I had a great last stint and at the end there was one chance to overtake Lewis in the last lap, but it didn’t work out. So that is massively disappointing. We need to sit down and analyse internally what went wrong today. I’m still leading the championship, which is a positive thing, and I’ll be ready to attack again after the summer break.
The conditions today made the race very difficult. The safety car periods worked out better for some and worse for others. If you look at the leading three cars before the safety car period, they ended up in fourth, seventh and eighth – and that was what really cost Nico, when he was held by the Safety Car and couldn’t get back to the pits. The result for us was also down to some brilliant driving from Lewis and Nico. To finish third and fourth on a circuit that’s very difficult to overtake on is probably the best we could have done today, given the challenges that were thrown our way. Again we had reliability issues on Lewis’ car and we had some very difficult decisions to make in the race. Obviously, we need to sit down, discuss and analyse the moment when Lewis was asked to let Nico pass – but, like always, we will do this calmly and work our way through any confusion or misunderstanding. There were so many things influencing the decisions we made and we must still determine whether we were right or not. We are not satisfied with third and fourth today, so we will look at everything and try to improve for the next race.
It was a difficult afternoon; but it was never going to be easy with one car starting from the pit-lane. On the other side of the garage we were well lined up with a good car and good pace. We opened up a healthy lead from the start in tricky conditions until the race was overturned by a safety car. For reasons we don’t yet understand, the safety car split the pack and Nico got stuck behind it because he had been unable to pit before it was called out. We put Nico on a three-stop strategy and Lewis on a two-stop. This caused an interaction which we explained as best we could to each driver. In the event, neither strategy was capable of recovering the win given the impact of the safety car periods. We had a few issues with brake management on both cars and a fuel pressure issue on Lewis’ car that we will look into more closely. The problems didn’t have a significant effect on performance and at the end of the day, third and fourth was probably the best we could do in the circumstances. As we start ‘half-term’ it’s a good point to say well done to both drivers and the team for all that has been achieved this year, and we wish everybody, including the fans, happy holidays.
Source: Mercedes AMG Petronas