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Why Mercedes split Hamilton and Russell strategies – GPFans

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Mercedes director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has explained why George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were given different tyre strategies at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Russell started on soft tyres from pole position and held Carlos Sainz‘s Ferrari behind on the opening lap, although the Briton was unable to keep a charging Charles Leclerc at bay when relinquishing the lead on lap 31.

Hamilton would eventually finish second and ahead of his team-mate having deployed a medium-medium-soft strategy, rising from seventh on the grid after a DRS issue in qualifying.

Russell was able to clinch a Mercedes double podium but detailing why the Silver Arrows split the strategy, Shovlin explained: “We looked at each case separately.

“With George we wanted him to be out front leading the race.

“The conditions were quite tricky, there was a bit of rain in the air, it looked like it was quite cold, could be quite slippy and that soft tyre would give him the best chance of getting off the line cleanly because to keep George’s hopes of winning the race alive we had to be leading that first stint.”

Hamilton strategy key to podium

Hamilton’s strategy saw him drive longer than any other driver during his second stint, enabling a switch to softs before charging through to runner-up behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

On why Hamilton started with the mediums, Shovlin added: “The argument with Lewis was quite different.

“We had that DRS problem in qualifying that had meant he was well out of position.

“So the medium tyre gave him better range, it allowed him to overcut, we could go longer and that put him on fresh rubber at the end of the race.

“Ultimately, that’s what allowed him to have that pace that could take him all the way to P2.”

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