Hamilton and Mercedes ‘need to work on trust’

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes garage briefing. Spa August 2021.

Lewis Hamilton meets with Mercedes board members in the team garage. Spa August 2021.

Toto Wolff has said Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes need to improve their communication in races to avoid a repeat of his botched strategy in Turkey.

Hamilton aired his frustrations over team radio when he was called in for a late pit stop when running on his intermediate tyres. With drivers behind, who had stopped, beginning to reel in the World Champion, Mercedes took the decision to pit him – much to the Briton’s dismay.

Given the initial phase of graining on the inters, the data from the rest of the field showed that a fresh set of tyres would have enabled Hamilton to be faster.

But the call ultimately came too late for him, resulting in dropping from what would have been a likely podium down to a P5 finish, putting him six points behind Max Verstappen in the World Championship standings.

After a frustrated Hamilton admitted he should either have stayed out or pitted much earlier, team boss Wolff thinks the decision-making process needs to be ironed out between driver and team.

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“I think we just really need to work on the communication to trust each other and in a way be able to describe what we are aiming for,” said the Austrian.

“We have no problem at all with tough conversations on the radio before you have complete information and obviously, we wouldn’t speak like this to Lewis because he is driving the car at 320kph.

“But that is all okay, so absolutely we are totally aligned. We have been together for eight years and we have thick skin enough to understand that a driver in the car is just frustrated about a situation but he will understand afterwards.”

Hamilton was full of praise for his team when they overruled his judgment in Sochi, telling him to pit as worse rain was on the way at the end of the race.

This ultimately allowed their driver to go on and take victory in Russia, but Hamilton and race engineer Pete Bonnington did not agree on their approach in the race – which Wolff feels is part of the nature of racing as a whole.


“It’s very difficult because the communication needs to flow in both directions and that is crucial,” Wolff added, quoted by GPFans. “The driver is the vital sensor on track that will tell you about the grip levels.

“But the driver doesn’t see himself relative to the other drivers and the other performances.

“So that information we need to work on because we’ve had what Lewis called a ‘genius stroke’ in terms of strategy last time around.”


Hamilton blasts Mercedes over Turkish Grand Prix strategy

Lewis Hamilton was not a happy man after losing out on a podium in Turkey on Sunday.