Sir Lewis Hamilton was left seething at the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix, after Mercedes team-mate George Russell opted to pit for a fresh set of Soft tyres during the late Safety Car.
The 24-year-old was running in P2 at the time, but he was wary that Max Verstappen, who had just pitted for new rubber, would be at an advantage once the race got back underway.
Ultimately, Russell’s call turned out to be the right one, as Hamilton struggled in the final stint of the grand prix and ended up P4, while his younger team-mate came home in second.
After finding out Russell had pitted and left him directly exposed to a charging Verstappen, Hamilton lashed out on the radio.
“I can’t believe you screwed me like that. I can’t describe how pissed I am,” Hamilton said on the radio.
The reality is, Hamilton is used to being unfairly prioritised by Mercedes, and there is no doubt he urgently would like Valtteri Bottas to make a return in place of Russell.
Had both Russell and Hamilton stayed out, the Mercedes pair would have finished P3 and P4 at best.
So, from Mercedes’ perspective, the best call would have been to pit both drivers, but we should remember that, crucially, Russell suggested the pitstop, not the team.
Therefore, Hamilton only has himself to blame for finishing behind his team-mate at Zandvoort and falling further behind him in the Drivers’ Championship.
Instead of getting distracted by Hamilton being an unreasonable cry-baby, we should really be focussing on another brilliant performance and sharp strategic call by Russell.
With his latest podium, the Mercedes new-comer is now just 13 points adrift of P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.
And, with the W13 looking more competitive, he has a good chance of making up that deficit by the end of the season.
Disclaimer: This is an opinion article and the views contained within it are strictly of the author.