Sky TV experts point finger at Mercedes error leading to Hamilton-Russell crash

The precise error that Mercedes made at the F1 Qatar Grand Prix, leading to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s collision, has been picked out.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Race
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid. Formula 1 World…

Hamilton accepted fault, and apologised to his teammate, after the two Mercedes cars struck each other at Turn 1 last weekend.

Hamilton’s race ended early and, while Russell battled back to a P4 finish, it was a flashpoint that the team could have avoided with the correct pre-race preparation according to Sky Sports’ TV experts.

Ted Kravitz said: "You might be able to say that had they been on the same tyres at the start of the race, but they weren't. 

“That's what really probably underlines the frustration at Mercedes was that they were on different strategies.

"At the middle or end of the race, drivers are quite happy to swap positions because they're obviously on different strategies and it's not going to affect them. 

“It's not a measure of their racing ability if you're ordering the team to let one pass the other, it's just sound management.

"So why wouldn't that have occurred at the first corner of the first lap? 

“Because surely they had discussed the fact that Lewis was on a different strategy. on the soft tyre in the first stint. 

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers' parade. Formula 1 World
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG…

“And his race really depended, because he had so few laps on his medium and his hard tyres, on getting in front of Max and making that soft tyre work for him. Maybe slowing down the pace on that soft tyre and getting a good stint length out of the soft tyre.

"Because if you include the soft tyres, he actually had some good stint length in his allocation. 

“But then George fighting him negated all of that! And I'm not saying it's George's fault, Lewis admitted moving across on him.

"So I don't understand why it wouldn't have been the Mercedes strategy to say: 'okay guys, this is what we're going do - Lewis is on the soft, he is going to come round you. George, you are not going to fight him, and he is going to try and get Max, and that's what we're going to try and do.'

"And so George would have understood that they weren't racing each other, and that Lewis was going to go round. 

“Lewis would have known that, so would have maybe taken a wider line anyway.

"That's why it just seemed to be so frustrating, because we never saw what was going to happen, and Lewis was on a completely different strategy."

'George was sandwiched - car in the middle can't do anything'

Karun Chandhok insists that planning a switch of position at the start of a race is too difficult: "I think it's very hard to orchestrate that off the start of the race. 

“At the end of the day, you're so reliant on how different people get off the line.

"You can't arrive at the first corner of the race and be looking in your mirrors to say, 'I'm here at the first corner, where's my team-mate? I need to back off, let him pass.'

"George, and he said it, he's looking forward because at the start of the race, you have to look forward, you have to look at where other cars are around you.

"As much as you have some spatial awareness, sure, but the focus is looking forward and driving forward.

"I was pleased to see Lewis admitted 100 per cent fault because as I said in commentary at the time, George was sandwiched in the middle, bit like Nico Hulkenberg the day before, three into one doesn't go, and actually the car in the middle is the one who can't do anything.

"They can't move to the right, they can't move to the left. They've just got to hold a consistent line, and George did that. 

“The issue was Lewis obviously was coming in, Lewis was the one who had more space on the left to sort of just give each other a bit more breathing room. He didn't use it.”

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