Lewis Hamilton 'deflated' after costly Bahrain GP pit-stop error
21 April, 2017, 20:03 | Author: Leticia Walters
Vettel is chasing his fifth world title and is seven points ahead of three-time champion Hamilton in the drivers standings, while Ferrari is three points in front of Mercedes in the constructors race.
"The pit lane (incident) was really my fault so apologies to the team for losing the time there ... but I gave it everything I could".
"We tried to maintain the order and not interfere as it's an terrible call but at a certain stage you have to decide if you are losing the race or making a call", said Wolff.
Hamilton's race was further compromised by a five-second penalty for driving unnecessarily slowly at the pit lane entry when he did come in, a deliberate move to create a gap with Bottas ahead in the queue.
The two teams had been very evenly matched in race pace but Ferrari's aggressive pit strategy gave Vettel the advantage, and when Hamilton pitted under the safety vehicle he was too slow into the pit entry and took a five-second penalty.
A slow stop for Bottas delayed Hamilton slightly anyway and he dropped behind the Red Bull, and was then hit with a five-second penalty for delaying Ricciardo.
He had to do so again after Hamilton made a late second stop, and was closing down leader Sebastian Vettel.
"Being that it's often a warmer race, Ferrari is very good in hotter conditions".
After exiting the pits, Hamilton reduced a 19.0-second gap with Vettel to just 5.8 seconds by the 54th lap.
Vettel had assumed the lead from pole sitter Valtteri Bottas earlier in the grand prix as the Finn struggled with over-steering on his Mercedes. Their inability to compete with Ferrari this year may prevent them taking home a Grand Prix, and could leave the team in third place. I tried to extend the first stint but I couldn't keep up with the pace. Firstly when the German, starting third on the grid, blasted out of his blocks and made up the nine-metre difference to Hamilton by the time the title protagonists reached turn one. "I just wish with these cars we could follow closer so we could have done more together", he said.
McLaren endured another miserable race weekend with Stoffel Vandoorne unable to start the race due to engine problems and Fernando Alonso making his annoyance clear over team radio at his car's lack of oomph.
"We tried to maintain the order and not interfere in the running order because it's an terrible call you need to make", Wolff added.
He said the team could not give priority to whoever got pole. I think both have to have a chance of winning the race and having the best possible result.
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