Hamilton's dad played a role in Hungary win - Wolff
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that Lewis Hamilton’s father Anthony had a slight influence on the strategy from the team which ultimately won his son the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen led the majority of the race in Budapest on Sunday, having started from pole, but with 20 laps remaining, Hamilton was called in from Mercedes to change to medium tyres, which ultimately forced the Dutchman to stay out on his own disintegrating tyres.
Hamilton was initially unsure of the strategy, as he said over team radio, but as Verstappen’s tyres fell to bits he made up a 19-second gap to overtake and claim the win. His father told Mercedes just the right thing to say for motivation, according to Wolff.
“We were very much in doubt because we knew we had to catch up a second a lap,” the Silver Arrows boss said.
“There was a stage when Max was turning up the engine and he was matching Lewis’s pace and when [Hamilton's engineer] Bono told him it was equal times you could almost hear the disbelief in Lewis’s voice [as to] why we did the second stop.
“But somehow he put himself back in the right frame of mind, probably we motivated him over the radio. One thing his father said to me, there’s just one sentence you need: ‘You can do it’. And we knew he could do it.
“Even if the plan had said we were running out of laps, we thought that by telling him he was catching him we could help. And that’s exactly what happened.”
The second-stop proved to be a masterstroke from Mercedes, and Wolff has praised the team, and Hamilton, for how well it was pulled off.
A day to remember. Thank you to everyone in my team for their unwavering support throughout these 7 years. Here we had our first win together in 2013 and today we did it again. To #teamLH I love you guys, so grateful for the constant unconditional love #grateful 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/KmzCpigv3x
“It was a brilliant execution by the strategy team. We had discussed all variations in the morning and the two-stop seemed uncompetitive. But then they reacted in the right way and all the learnings we took from Hockenheim with the radio discipline and the protocol that the strategists in the background would come up with options, and then [Chief Strategist] James Vowles would be evaluating them and then all of us giving our opinions.
“By this point Lewis was catching up to Max and it looked like he could overtake him on the hard tyre, but we were too marginal on the brakes and we couldn’t continue to follow him in that way.
“So the only option to avoid P2 was to take a risk in the hope that the medium tyre would create an offset. At first it didn’t seem very good, but from then on the moment Lewis sniffed the opportunity there was no going back.”
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