LEWIS HAMILTON finished a disappointing fourth in the Dutch Grand Prix last weekend.
Lewis Hamilton discusses his experience with race at Formula 1
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Lewis Hamilton could have won the last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix if Mercedes had double-stacked the Brit and team mate George Russell during the late safety car period, according to Jolyon Palmer. The seven-time world champion took the lead of the race after Red Bull man Max Verstappen pitted for soft rubber but was quickly overtaken by his fierce rival who took advantage of his fresher tyres.
Hamilton has still not won a race this season after his Mercedes team struggled to adapt to the new regulations brought in to encourage closer racing. It leaves the 37-year-old at serious risk of losing his impressive record of winning a Grand Prix in every season he has raced in the sport with just seven weekends to go in this campaign.
Last Sunday’s race in Zandvoort looked like the best opportunity to claim a victory with the Brit leading multiple laps during the race. Yet he fell down the pecking order after Mercedes decided not to pit him for new tyres during a late safety car period, causing him to fall down to fourth place. However, the Silver Arrows did pit team mate Russell meaning Hamilton lost his barrier to Verstappen and eventually finished behind his countryman, leaving him fuming with his team.
With Valterri Bottas’ stricken Alfa Romeo stuck on the home straight the cars were forced into the pit lane, creating a moment of opportunity according to Palmer.
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Lewis Hamilton may have had a better chance to win the Dutch GP if Mercedes made different decisions (Image: GETTY)
The former Renault driver has argued that Mercedes could have double-stacked their drivers to give Hamilton a better chance of claiming the race win. Russell could have held Verstappen up slightly on his in-lap, potentially generating precious seconds for his team mate to pit and get back out in front.
“It was looking quite tricky for Mercedes to win regardless of the outcome, one thing that might have been their magic bullet, would be to stack the cars,” Palmer told F1TV.
“What they could do, potentially, Mercedes, because everyone was coming through the pits, if they decided to pit Hamilton and Russell, then possibly George could have just backed up, backed into Max Verstappen, giving a little bit more space to Hamilton.
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Lewis Hamilton was passed by Max Verstappen for the lead of the Dutch Grand Prix (Image: GETTY)
“And if they had have done that, there’s a chance that Russell might have been able to back Verstappen up to the point that Hamilton could then emerge and rejoin ahead of Max and in the lead of the race, in which case Hamilton is your favourite for the race win.”
It will never be known whether or not Palmer’s strategy would have ended up being the optimal one, helping the Brit to his first race win of the season. He will be hopeful that the Italian Grand Prix can be a moment of opportunity, with Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo both winning the event in unexpected circumstances during the last two years.