Mercedes were at fault for not calling Sir Lewis Hamilton into the pits during the late Safety Car in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
That’s according to former Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers, who slammed Mercedes for “accusing others” instead of taking responsibility for their own strategy call.
Mercedes were fearful of giving up track position to Max Verstappen, and ultimately left Hamilton out on track with heavily used tyres.
This later led to a last-lap pass for the lead that handed Verstappen victory in Abu Dhabi and with it, the World Drivers’ Championship.
Mercedes would go on to protest decisions made by race director Michael Masi, but these efforts were unsuccessful.
Lammers believes the Silver Arrows need to accept the fact that they had an opportunity to pit Hamilton under the Safety Car, as Verstappen did.
“They all make their decisions and in the end you see at the end of the race which ones were the right ones,” Lammers said.
“If you didn’t make the right decisions in those circumstances, as in the case of Mercedes, then you shouldn’t start beating around the bush and accusing others. Then you really just have to put your hand in your own pocket.
“At the time that yellow flag and Safety Car were there, there were still six corners to go for Mercedes and Hamilton to consider whether or not to come in.
“Lewis drove past the accident of [Nicholas] Latifi, they had enough time and also enough people behind the scenes thinking about the strategy.
“So I think you can expect them to have had every opportunity to make a decision to come in or not. They chose not to come in, that was their choice. Verstappen was of course in a better situation because he was a bit later. But that doesn’t mean Mercedes didn’t have a choice.”
On the possibility of losing track position to Verstappen, Lammers noted: “Fine, but that’s a decision you make, good or bad. I understand it’s difficult, but if you make that decision then afterwards also accept it wasn’t the right choice.”