Mercedes explain use of team orders on Lewis Hamilton in Miami

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton prepares to lower himself into the cockpit of his Mercedes W14 at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, 2023.

Lewis Hamilton prepares to lower himself into the cockpit of his Mercedes W14 at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, 2023.

Mercedes said Lewis Hamilton, running the alternate strategy in Miami, could have done nothing other than hurt George Russell’s race if he had not have let him go.

Starting from P13 on the hard compound tyre, Hamilton had gone with the opposite strategical approach to Mercedes team-mate George Russell, who had began the race on the medium tyre.

With Russell having started up the road in P6, his and Hamilton’s paths would cross later in the race after Russell had pitted to swap to the hard tyre, while Hamilton was still out on track with the older version of that compound yet to make his pit stop.

The order came then on Lap 32 for Hamilton to concede position to Russell, a request which he followed by opening the door at Turn 11 to allow his team-mate through.

Russell went on to finish the race P4, Hamilton crossing the line P6, and Mercedes would reveal the value of those team orders in securing that result.

Speaking in Mercedes’ Miami GP debrief, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “We’d asked Lewis to let George go because they were in different races.

“Lewis was on the hard-medium strategy, George was on the medium-hard.

“They weren’t forecast to finish together, but ultimately, it gave us a better chance of a result with George if Lewis was happy just to let him go.”

Mercedes find themselves once again adrift of the title picture in F1 2023, the team hoping that their major upgrade package, arriving for the next round in Imola, will send them down a new path which will lead them back to that scene at the very front.

But since such glory, which Mercedes have experienced frequently in the past, is not currently on the table, Shovlin said that Hamilton and Russell are working exclusively to bring those days back, which is of great benefit to the team. recommends

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“Fundamentally, we haven’t got the car that we want,” said Shovlin. “We haven’t got a car at the moment that can challenge for championships and both drivers are working hard to try and achieve that.

“So whether it’s you see them cooperating on-track, or we see them cooperating in the office, trying to solve problems, trying to share information, that helps us to develop.

“It is really useful that the two of them are focused on getting our car to a level where we can fight for wins, can fight for championships, and not worrying too much now about the fight between themselves.”

Mercedes go into the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola sitting P3 in the Constructors’ standings, only six points behind Aston Martin, but 128 adrift of runaway leaders Red Bull.