May 29, 2023

Mercedes explain why they didn’t tell Russell to let Hamilton past in Jeddah · RaceFans


Mercedes say they did not intervene in the fight between their drivers for fourth place in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix because they did not believe it would improve their result.

George Russell was heard urging the team not to impose orders on its cars when Lewis Hamilton closed within striking range of him following the Safety Car period in last Sunday’s race. Hamilton was on a softer set of tyres at the time.

Mercedes did not tell Russell to let his team mate past and Hamilton did not request a change of positions. After several laps of pursuing his team mate closely, Hamilton dropped back, and eventually finished 5.199 seconds behind him.

Mike Elliott, the team’s technical director, said Mercedes reasoned Hamilton would only temporarily be quicker than Russell and so decided not to swap the running order.

“First of all you’ve got to bear in mind that the Safety Car was pretty early so it was going to be a very long final stint,” he explained in a video released by the team. “Although Lewis came out on the faster tyre theoretically, the medium, by the end of the stint the hard tyre was going to be a much quicker tyre.

“So although Lewis could put pressure on George initially he wasn’t going to be able to do that at the end of the stint and so there probably wasn’t a clear [picture of] which tyre is faster or slower if you look at the full stint length.”

Elliott said the team prefer to avoid issuing orders when possible. “We’ve always let our drivers race. That’s just the way we have operated as a team and we didn’t think we were going to be in a position where favouring one driver over the other would get us in a better position in the race. So we just let them race.”

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Hamilton and Russell’s radio messages from laps 28-36

Lap: 28/50
Bonnington So we’ve lost some of our timing tools, will be back online soon.
Lap: 29/50
Hamilton [Unclear] tyres or not?
Bonnington So it’s half the deg with the model. So they are much more resilient. So expect them to go the distance.
Lap: 30/50
Musconi Can we have green position two. Car behind is Lewis, 1.1.
Lap: 31/50
Bonnington Can we have HPP seven position six, seven position six when you can. Musconi Gap one second.
Russell Is Lewis going to the end?
Musconi Affirm, on the medium tyre. Currently seeing L6.
Lap: 32/50
Bonnington And good improvement turns one, two and four. Just need to work on 16 and 17 now. Musconi Gap one second.
Bonnington Think about B-bal turn one. Russell Does he have DRS or not?
Musconi Affirm.
Russell You need to give me this information sooner.
Musconi Yeah, affirm, we’ve got issues with the system, but yeah. He has DRS again.

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Lap: 33/50
Bonnington And wear was very low on last set. Musconi So gap behind 0.5, can drop the lift-and-coast at 13 now.
Musconi So this tyre is going to be very durable, so we’re happy to lean on it more.
Musconi 0.7.
Musconi Gap 0.5. Got Albon going slow turn 14.
Russell Alonso has a five-second penalty here. Let’s fight later and let’s manage the tyres a little bit now…
Musconi Alonso has served his penalty at the stop.
Russell Ah, again info I need
Lap: 34/50
Bonnington Just stay on the de-rate where you can. Musconi So gap behind 0.7.
Bonnington Focus on turn 27 exit. Also 16, 17. Musconi Gap. 0.8. Currently seeing L5.
Musconi Gap 0.6
Lap: 35/50
Hamilton The de-rate button’s not working. Musconi Gap 0.9.
Musconi Gap one second.
Russell Let me know about DRS
Musconi No DRS.
Lap: 36/50
Bonnington We’re just looking at it.
Bonnington And so we do see the de-rate button working.

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