Mercedes open up on Lewis Hamilton team orders

Lewis Hamilton finished sixth in Miami despite having started from P13, while George Russell finished in P4.

Mercedes’ technical director Andrew Shovlin has revealed why the team asked Lewis Hamilton to let George Russell past during the Miami Grand Prix, with it having been due to the pair’s differing strategies.

After being eliminated in Q2 on American soil for the first time, Hamilton opted to start the race on the Hard compound, in an attempt to run deeper into the race.

Russell on the other hand, started the race from sixth on the Medium compound, meaning he was quicker in the opening stages of the race.

Due to Russell having pitted significantly earlier than Hamilton, the 25-year-old exited the pits behind the seven-time World Champion, who was preserving his tyres.

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With Russell having quickly gotten onto the back of Hamilton due to his fresher tyres, Mercedes told the 38-year-old not to hold the former Williams driver up, due to them being on different strategies.

Hamilton didn’t put up a fight and allowed Russell to overtake with ease, something which allowed the duo to focus on their own races.

Russell ended up finishing fourth whilst Hamilton recovered to sixth, despite having started 13th.

Shovlin shared that the Silver Arrows decided that letting Russell past Hamilton without a fight would give the team a “better chance” of a strong result, something that turned out to be true.

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“We’d asked Lewis to let George go because they were in different races. Lewis was on the hard medium strategy, George was on the medium hard,” Shovlin said in a video on Mercedes’ YouTube channel.

“They weren’t forecast to finish together, but ultimately, it gave us a better chance of a result with George if Lewis was happy just to let him go.”

Finishing fourth and sixth isn’t where the Brackley-based team ultimately want to be, though, with Russell and Hamilton both working tirelessly with the side to figure out how to get the German manufacturer back on top.

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With both drivers pushing to get the team back to the front, Shovlin explained how it’s helping the side not having to worry about Russell and Hamilton fighting, with everyone involved working towards the same goal.

“Fundamentally, we haven’t got the car that we want, we haven’t got a car at the moment that can challenge for championships and both drivers are working hard to try and achieve that,” Shovlin added.

He continued: “It is really useful that the two of them are focused on getting our car to a level where we can fight for wins, can fight for championships and not worrying too much now about the fight between themselves.”