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How Mercedes' shadowing of Red Bull helped clinch Hamilton's 100th win

How Mercedes' shadowing of Red Bull helped clinch Hamilton's 100th win

F1 News

How Mercedes' shadowing of Red Bull helped clinch Hamilton's 100th win

How Mercedes' shadowing of Red Bull helped clinch Hamilton's 100th win

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has revealed Max Verstappen's switch to intermediate tyres in Russia left Lewis Hamilton willing to sacrifice a win to cover his F1 title rival.

With a handful of laps remaining, rain started to fall over a particular section of the Sochi Autodrom, sending the race spiralling to a chaotic conclusion.

After initially ignoring a team instruction to pit and opting instead to follow race leader Lando Norris for another lap, Hamilton relented soon after upon learning Verstappen had made the change.

Recalling the drama, Shovlin said: "The key point that we were thinking to get across to him was that Max had stopped.

"With Max having stopped, then he certainly was keen that we shadow what he was doing even if it meant that we might leave the door open for Lando to take the win.

“The other thing we had to get across was that we thought the rain was going to get heavier, therefore jumping early was going to be better."

Bottas struggles aided Hamilton race-winning call

The timing of Hamilton's stop proved to be perfect as Norris slid off the track on the following lap at a time when the seven-time champion was closing in to overtake.

Lapping in P14, Valtteri Bottas' tough day proved useful to Mercedes as the Finn had "nothing to lose" and stopped first to switch to the intermediate tyres.

“What we could see was that it [the rain] was then going to get heavier and that was really the thing that we were reacting to," explained Shovlin.

“But in some ways, our decision making was helped by the fact that Valtteri was out of the points, he had nothing to lose and we were the first to make the jump.

“Then seeing how the tyres were working on his car, we followed suit with Lewis soon after.

“But certainly not leading the race makes it a bit easier to take those decisions.”

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