Turkish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton accepts blame for pit stop that saw him finish fifth

Lewis Hamilton accepted he was at fault for a poorly-timed pit stop that saw him drop to a fifth-placed finish at the Turkish Grand Prix, after the Briton defied Mercedes’ request to come in.

The seven-time Formula One champion raged at his own Mercedes team for bringing him in with just eight laps to go at the Turkish Grand Prix, which cost him two places as he finished fifth. 

At lap 42, Hamilton was asked by Mercedes to come in and pit spot for new intermediates which the Briton disagreed with and stayed out on the track until lap 50, when he dropped from third to fifth and nearly lost another place on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton raged at his own team for pulling him in for a pit stop at the Turkish Grand Prix

Hamilton was furious with his Mercedes team after the race, telling his team to ‘leave me alone’

On the team radio, Hamilton shouted: ‘F*** man, why did you give up that space?’ before telling his pit wall to ‘leave me alone’ after the race. 

When asked whether he believed his tyres could last the distance, a calmer Hamilton told Sky Sports: ‘(Esteban) Ocon’s did, I heard, so I assume they probably could have done. The tyres are bald. You don’t know how far they’re going to go. There’s definitely a worry about the life of the tyre.

‘I was struggling, had low grip, not sure why. I was losing performance to the guys behind, but probably in hindsight I should have stayed out or come in much earlier. I went through this whole sliding phase where I lost more positions. It’s a bit frustrating, but it is what it is.

‘It felt good to be in third and I was like, ‘If I can just hold on to this it would be a great result from 11th.’ This was worse, but it could be worse.’ 

Hamilton (left) was ahead of Sergio Perez (right) in third place when he was asked in on lap 42

Hamilton (left) was ahead of Sergio Perez (right) in third place when he was asked in on lap 42

The Briton had managed to work his way back up to third place after starting the race in 11th due to an engine penalty, with Formula One title rival Max Verstappen just ahead of him when he was called in to the pit box on lap 42. 

Hamilton initially refused to come in as he disagreed that new intermediates were needed, but eventually came in on lap 50 which saw him drop two places down to fifth, where he finished the race. 

When the Mercedes driver, who started this week’s F1 action just two points ahead of Verstappen at the top of the rankings, discovered he had dropped to fifth, he shouted to his team on air: ‘We shouldn’t have come in. Massive graining man. I told you!!

‘F***, man, why did you give up that space?’

The move cost Hamilton a spot on the podium with his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finishing first, with Verstappen finishing 14 seconds behind him, leaving Red Bull partner Sergio Perez in third. 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton should have come in when his team asked him to

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agreed that Hamilton should have come in earlier when he was asked to as he felt that keeping the Briton out on the track without a pit stop would have seen him drop to sixth.

Wolff told Sky Sports: ‘We thought we could finish third without stopping or, if a dry line emerged, maybe going to a soft tyre.

‘Then we saw Leclerc dropping off and Lewis was dropping off and it was clear we wouldn’t make it to the end.’ 

When asked if coming in at lap 42 would have helped, Wolff added: ‘That would have been better than what we ended up with. But it was measured and in the car, he didn’t see how much he was dropping off. It was clear that had he stayed out then he would have lost out to Gasly.’

Hamilton (back) refused but came in on lap 50 but lost two places and dropped to fifth spot

Hamilton (back) refused but came in on lap 50 but lost two places and dropped to fifth spot

‘The correct call would probably have been taking it very conservative and pitting when everybody else pitted for the inters, coming out behind Perez and Leclerc and fighting with them for P3. That was probably correct, but that is only with hindsight.’ 

Hamilton has now lost the F1 top spot lead in the overall rankings, with Verstappen moving ahead of the Mercedes man with just five Grand Prix meets to go this season.

The Briton was fuming with his team after the race, shouting ‘leave me alone, man’ to his pit wall as he now plots a way to wrestle the title lead back from Verstappen. 

The seven-time Formula One champion had not used a pit stop break at all when he was called in by Mercedes on lap 42. 

A Mercedes advisor said on the team radio: ‘Box, box.’ 

Valtteri Bottas (middle) won the race in Turkey with Max Verstappen (left) in second place

Valtteri Bottas (middle) won the race in Turkey with Max Verstappen (left) in second place

The result means Red Bull's Verstappen (above) is now six points ahead in the F1 rankings

The result means Red Bull’s Verstappen (above) is now six points ahead in the F1 rankings 

After Hamilton asked why, the Mercedes individual responded with: ‘New inters are the way to go.’ 

Hamilton replied: ‘I don’t think it is, man.’ 

The Mercedes driver was eventually brought in with eight laps to go and not only lost two places, but was in a battle to hold on to fifth with Pierre Gasly. 

Sunday’s race result means Hamilton is now six points behind Verstappen in the overall F1 rankings, with the next meet taking place in Austin in a fortnight’s time.  

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