Lewis Hamilton has rued the strategy error which enabled Nico Rosberg to finish the Brazilian GP in second place and remain in pole position for the drivers’ championship.
Despite Hamilton’s masterclass to win the Brazilian GP and his own lacklustre performance, Rosberg only needs to finish the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP in third place to secure the drivers’ crown.
Unable to match Hamilton’s searing pace at the front, an out-of-sorts Rosberg was passed by Max Verstappen early in the race but was then handed back the position when Red Bull mistakenly pitted the teenager for intermediate tyres.
Asked about Rosberg’s apparent ‘luck’ by Sportsclubsociety F1, Hamilton replied: “Unbelievable, when will it end? Red Bull made such a big mistake with that call.”
Hamilton used wet tyres throughout the race and added: “When the team called me and said ‘people are starting to pit for inters’ I’m like ‘they’re crazy, there is no way it is going to last, they are going to have to pit again’. That’s what they did and it is a shame. But there is nothing I can do about that.”
Red Bull do, however, remain Hamilton’s best hope for triggering a result in Abu Dhabi which would enable him to clinch his fourth world title.
“It would be good if they made some good calls in the next race,” joked Hamilton.
Although Verstappen recovered brilliantly to finish in third, the youngster admitted he believed the strategy call had cost him second, or maybe even the win.
“Definitely,” the Dutch driver told Sky F1 when asked if the call had cost him. “But it gave me more fun as well. We are not fighting for the championship and I had a good time.”
Rosberg has qualified on the front row for every race so far this season and, given the notorious reputation Abu Dhabi has for overtaking, another mistake-free display in qualifying may prove pivotal in his quest to wrap up the title on November 27.
“He needs to think about the championship now, everything he does for that race weekend, he needs to focus on that and ensure it is second or third,” said Sky F1’s Damon Hill.
“If he has to make an extra pit stop to make sure it is third then that is what he has to do. I think that is what he is thinking about, he can’t be aggressive and he has been ‘Mr Consistent’ all year.”
Don’t miss the F1 Report’s Brazilian GP review on Sportsclubsociety F1 on Wednesday at 8.30pm