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Mercedes blame computer for Hamilton's French GP loss

Mercedes blame computer for Hamilton's French GP loss

F1 News


Mercedes blame computer for Hamilton's French GP loss

Mercedes blame computer for Hamilton's French GP loss
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Mercedes has blamed its French Grand Prix loss on a computer after revealing its race strategy prediction models had told the pit wall Lewis Hamilton was “safe from the undercut” against Max Verstappen.

The reigning champion team was out-thought by its rivals at the Paul Ricard Circuit, with Verstappen making a two-stop strategy work compared to Hamilton’s single-stop plan and passing him on the penultimate lap to claim victory.

According to Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, however, that should not have happened.

“We thought when we had just over three seconds to Max we were safe from the undercut and that wasn’t the case," said Shovlin.

“Even now we don’t fully understand why our models were telling us that we would have been okay. So, clearly, there’s something we need to go off and understand there.

“If we’d brought Lewis in the lap after Valtteri [Bottas], whether Max would have followed us in I don’t know, but if we’d done that, I think that would have put us in a decent position.”

Asked to clarify what the modelling system had underestimated, Shovlin replied: "The ability of Max to undercut us from so far back."

Hamilton two-stopper would have failed

Hamilton was left a sitting duck late in the race as his worn tyres gave him little grip and allowed Verstappen to reel him in lap by lap before making an easy overtake to claim the lead and win.

As to why the team chose not to mirror Red Bull’s strategy, Shovlin explained: “I think converting Lewis to a two-stop wouldn’t have worked the same.

“Max only just got us and we would have had to get through [Red Bull’s] Sergio [Perez] and, of course, that’s going to be more difficult for Lewis than it was for Max.

“So really, it was just that we thought we were okay. We couldn’t have been any further up the road. Lewis had gone flat out in the first stint, but it would just be stopping a lap earlier.

“The hard tyre was good out of the box, but that’s the bit we still need to go through because we haven’t yet understood quite why we lost the position. We can account for about two and a half seconds of the three seconds.

“It’s something we need to dig into the fine detail to understand how we were undercut from so far back, because we weren’t expecting that.”

What do you think?

Why can't they give Max credit for his incredible outlap. Bothas tried the undercut with the same gap and did not get it right.

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