Lewis Hamilton was prepared to risk a one-stop strategy in a bid to win Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, but says Mercedes ultimately made the right decision.

Hamilton ultimately finished second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after the Dutchman was able to capitalise on Mercedes’ tyre wear struggles, with the six-time world champion passing teammate Valtteri Bottas amid a late charge after running longer in his second stint.

Hamilton initially wanted to attempt finishing the race without making a second pit stop, despite his 10-second gap to Verstappen coming down before he was called in on Lap 42.

“I was trying to go for a one-stop at the end but there was a lot of vibration with the tires that we had and I didn’t know if the tyre was going to last, to be honest,” Hamilton said.

“Not just with the rubber but a rear tyre blowout through a corner was too big a risk to take. That would have been the end of the race, so I think it was a good decision by the team.

“I was trying to keep going but there was a lot of laps to go. Max I think was doing 1m29s and I couldn’t do that on the old tyre, so congratulations to him, he did a fantastic job.

“It was an exciting race even for me with the struggles that we had — keeping the car on track and not losing my cool, bringing it home and getting the points.”

Hamilton admitted he was struggling more for pace compared to Bottas in the opening stint, as he was unable to mount an early challenge to the polesitter for the lead.

“I was trying to manage, I was trying to keep up with Valtteri, to be honest, and I was struggling within about three laps with the rears,” he explained.

“I was managing also but it wasn’t doing anything to help the issue. Then I started to lose ground to Valtteri, so [we’ve] got to look into that as that’s rare for me to have as bad as I’d had; usually I’m on the slightly better end to bad deg but it was worse.

“We haven’t had deg like this before. I don’t know what happened today — we’ve come here with the softer tires which has made the racing more exciting, as we said about the two-stop.

“Part of me doesn’t want to propose we go with softer tyres moving forwards because maybe we’ll be in this position again, but ultimately one-stop sucks. We should never be doing one-stops in this sport - it’s never been good watching as a fan. It makes it more exciting when there’s more.”

 

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