'F*** man': Lewis Hamilton furious over team's crucial F1 error

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·Sports Reporter
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Lewis Hamilton was furious at his Mercedes engineers after the Turkish Grand Prix.
Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton blamed his team for a strategy call that cost him third place in the Turkish GP. (Photo by Umit Bektas - Pool/Getty Images)

Reigning Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton was furious at his Mercedes engineer during Sunday night's Turkish GP after a failed pitstop gamble saw him tumble down the race order.

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas won the race, his first victory in over a year, while the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez claimed the other podium places in a rain-affected race.

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Despite setting the fastest time in qualifying, Hamilton started the race from 11th after taking penalties for new engine components, and was tasked with picking his way through the field on the slippery Istanbul Park circuit.

The seven-time drivers champion showed the skill that has made him into a modern motorsport great however, navigating his way to third place with eight laps remaining.

Given the wet conditions, drivers were not required to make a mandatory pitstop to change tyre compounds as they would in the dry, meaning Hamilton had remained on the same set of tyres he'd started the race on.

Hamilton had knocked back an earlier request from his engineer to pit on lap 42 of 58, believing he would be able to make it the rest of the race without losing time by coming in to change tyres.

Unfortunately, he didn't know that other drivers hoping the same gamble would pay off were realising they were losing time.

When Hamilton pitted from third on lap 50, he emerged in fifth behind Perez and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, with Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly also closing in from 6th.

"F***, man!" he yelled on the radio. "Why did you give up that space?" His race engineer Peter Bonnington replied: "It looked like we were going to lose position anyway."

Hamilton struck back shouting: "We shouldn't have come in, man. I told you." Bonnington responded: "Copy, Lewis, we were losing time to Perez but we will chat about it later."

After the chequered flag, Bonnington apologised to Hamilton.

"Ok, Lewis, so that is P5," he said. "Sorry about that we will have to chat to you, talk you through the call."

But Bonnington was met only with radio silence from the 36-year-old.

Lewis Hamilton fuming after Mercedes F1 strategy backfires in crucial moment

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted his team botched Hamilton's strategy, but feared leaving him out on worn rubber could drop him dramatically down the order, even out of the race.

But Esteban Ocon proved it was possible to make it to the end without changing tyres, crossing the line in 10th, and Mercedes' conservative call lost Hamilton five points.

Could it be a decision which will cost Hamilton dearly in this ferocious title battle?

"Time will tell," said Hamilton. "If I'd stayed out, we don't know if I would have held position, but I'm a risk taker so I wanted to take that risk.

"It was frustrating at the time because I could see second and all of a sudden I'm back in fifth.

"It's hard to give something up when you don't have the full picture. You have to rely on your team and accept the choices they make and hope they're the right ones. I've just got to try not to drop more points."

Lewis Hamilton has lost the lead in the F1 drivers standings to Red Bull rival Max Verstappen. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton has lost the lead in the F1 drivers standings to Red Bull rival Max Verstappen. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Hamilton had qualified fastest but was thrown back 10 places after incurring a grid penalty for taking on his fourth engine of the campaign.

The world champion hoped it would rain, and his wishes were answered with persistent drizzle in the hours before creating a damp track.

Hamilton next heads to the US Grand Prix in Austin - a race he has won in five of his eight appearances - hopeful of regaining the championship lead with just six rounds remaining.

Ricciardo started in 20th position at the back of the grid, having taken a new internal combustion engine, turbo and MGU-H aboard his McLaren, but ended up picking up seven places while his teammate Lando Norris finished seventh.

With AAP

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