Hamilton was one of the two drivers who opted to stay out on the track against the team orders; the other being Charles Leclerc, who found himself in the lead after Bottas and Verstappen pitted. The Monegasque was briefly optimistic about winning the race.
But he was soon struck by the harsh reality, as Bottas breezed past the Ferrari driver to reclaim the lead. Hence, Leclerc quickly acknowledged his team’s order and pitted on lap 48.
But Hamilton? Still no progress.
Mercedes were urging the Briton to pit, as Perez was charging on him, and Hamilton losing the final podium spot to the Mexican looked pretty much imminent. Hence, it was on lap 51 when Mercedes offered Hamilton a ‘final chance’ to box, which he took.
Hamilton lost a couple of positions to Perez and Leclerc and was absolutely fuming. But the truth is that, had Hamilton pitted when Mercedes originally made the call, the seven-time world champion would have finished as high as P4.
Well, what’s done is done. And a huge discussion is due at Mercedes, comprising Hamilton, Toto Wolff, the strategist, and the others involved in this decision-making process. So, will the review show a bit more clarity into whether Hamilton’s call was right?