Coming from a pit stop behind to win the Turkish GP by 31 seconds, Andrew Shovlin says Lewis Hamilton showed why he’s a “seven-time champion”.
Hamilton clinched his seventh World title with a victory at Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
With his 10th win of this season, the British driver took an unassailable lead in the standings, helping Mercedes to their seventh successive championship double.
Shovlin feels Hamilton’s performance on the day showed the world why he is a multiple F1 champion.
“On days like this he just delivers and it’s why he’s a seven-time champion,” the Mercedes trackside engineering director told The-Race.
“It is because he can read a race like he did and he manages the tyres and even when he dropped back he actually stayed nice and calm and could see the bigger picture.
“It’s one of those races where number one is ‘have you got the car pace?’, and then the next thing is ‘right, is the strategy or the opportunities going to come towards you?”
Although Hamilton’s race didn’t get off to the best start, the Brit making an early slip-up that put him behind Sebastian Vettel where he dropped time to the leading Racing Point drivers, he fought back as the track dried out enough to swap to the intermediate tyres.
But while many of his rivals wore down theirs to the point that they had to stop again, Hamilton kept going on his way.
The 35-year-old overtook Sergio Perez on the track to take the lead, immediately building up a gap over the Mexican driver.
A podium celebration for the #F1 history books.
After 9 pole positions, 557 laps led and 10 wins @LewisHamilton took home his 7th World Championship win in Turkey. What a year it’s been for @MercedesAMGF1 so far 🙌🏽 #UBSF1 pic.twitter.com/CSOo8HNoFI
— UBS Formula 1 (@UBSf1) November 18, 2020
Shovlin says Hamilton understanding what he can do made the difference with Mercedes’ strategy.
“Where you started to think ‘actually we can do anything here?’ was when people started to drop off with the inters, they were taking another set,” Shovlin added.
“And about the same time you’re thinking, ‘this track isn’t going to dry’. So, there’s one option to go to the end.
“We’re realising this could well be about getting this inter set to the finish because we’re never going to go for dry tyres. And this is where all the opportunity lies.
“Time and time again, it’s the sort of thing that Lewis has shown that he knows how to do and we’re not coaching him from the pit wall. He just knows what to do.”
He added: “The thing that won it for him was just how he looked after the intermediate tyres, how he was able to tell us, ‘They’re fine, don’t worry, I’ll get to the finish’.
“I have worked with him long enough to know that in his mind his plan was not just to win the championship, it was to win the championship and to win the race.”