Paul di Resta has backed Mercedes’ decision to pit Lewis Hamilton in Turkey, taking the 10 points rather than risk a DNF on the day.
Starting 11th at the Istanbul Park circuit, Hamilton was running P3 with 10 laps to go but on worn intermediate tyres, the same set of tyres that he was started the 58-lap race on.
While those around him pitted for fresh intermediate tyres, Hamilton baulked at Mercedes’ initial call for him to stop but later listened to the team when they called him in on lap 51.
Hamilton came back out in fifth place, the Brit giving voice his frustration.
“F*** man why’d you give up that space?” he said to his race engineer Pete Bonnington on team radio. “We shouldn’t have come in. I told you.”
Hamilton wasn’t able to recover the positions he lost, finishing P5 while his title rival Verstappen was second.
Di Resta believes Mercedes made the right call, settling for the 10 points rather than risk none at all.
“Could you imagine the tyre failed on the last lap?,” he told Sky Sports.
“You just don’t want to be pushing stuff like that when you’re fighting for a World title.
“Sometimes you’ve got to surrender. Especially with so many twists and turns in this championship.”
📻 "We shouldn't have come in man"
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 10, 2021
Hamilton feels he should have trusted his instincts and stayed out.
“I feel like I should have stayed out,” he said. “My gut feeling was to stay out and I feel that’s what I should have done.
“So I’m frustrated in myself for not following my gut.
“But I work as a team, so I did the best I could with the advice I was getting.”
Sunday’s result means Hamilton now trails Verstappen by six points in the race for the World title.
He led the championship fight early in the season before losing the lead to Verstappen only to regain it in Russia. Two weeks later he is back down in P2.
Former F1 driver turned pundit di Resta is enjoying the battle.
“It’s on the edge of your seat stuff,” said the Scot. “It’s mega.”
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