Lewis Hamilton ‘overruled’ Mercedes pitwall but tyres looked ‘dangerous’ claim Red Bull

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Red Bull Christian Horner has weighed in on the Lewis Hamilton tyre debacle, adding they believe Mercedes were forced by the seven-time world champion to make a late pit stop that cost them a potential podium.

Hamilton did not pit in the Grand Prix until lap 51 of a 58 lap race, as his times started to tumble at Istanbul. 

The seven-time world champion was left fuming at his race engineer Peter Bonnington as the Mercedes dropped from third to fifth, slotting in behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

But Horner believes Hamilton left it so late the tyres appeared “dangerous” and it was “inevitable” Mercedes would have to pit.

“I’m not on their pitwall so obviously difficult to comment,” began Horner speaking to Sky Sports F1. ‘But I think it sounded like Lewis overruled the team. 

“Difficult to say, at one point you thought he was going to get to the end. 

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“It was inevitable he was going to have to pit, obviously the point they pitted, that was to our maximum advantage. 

“At that point Charles, the tyres overheated, they blistered quite badly then the pace is lost. For us the crucial moment was when to pit Checo. 

“We could’ve left him out to keep holding Lewis but we decided to pit him to make sure we had that track position. We didn’t believe those tyres would make it to the end of the race. 

“Talking to the driver, getting the feedback, looking at the tyres and the time to run, we never believed it would get to slicks. 

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“It was a question of getting the tyres through a phase and machining them down to get to that slick. It was about not beasting them too early. 

“That’s why we went first with Max [Verstappen] and with [Sergio Perez] Checo we decided to bank the position and then Lewis would have to pass him on track. Checo did an amazing job today. 

Hamilton and Perez shared the battle of the race, as the Mexican held off his team-mate’s main title rival during the race.

It meant that Hamilton’s tyre degradation may well have decreased quicker, as he tried to find a way round Perez for fourth place.

“He raced Lewis just as hard as Max does,” concluded Horner. “You could see they went wheel to wheel and he actually ended up in the pitlane. 

“He was the other side of the bollard, Lewis had ran him out there. Then it was a drag race down the start-finish straight and he stuck with it and made it stick. 

“A great move from him.”

Verstappen reclaimed the lead of the championship to take a six-point lead into the USA Grand Prix in two weeks’ time with just six races remaining.

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