Mario Isola felt Mercedes AMG Motorsport’s decision to switch Lewis Hamilton from the medium compound tyre to the hard compound during his one and only pit stop was the ‘key element’ to the British driver’s sixth British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone.
Hamilton had started the race behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas and despite battling hard with the Finn, and at one stage passing him for the lead, he was trailing him just as the pit stop cycle began.
Unfortunately, just after Bottas pitted from the lead, the safety car was deployed to recover Antonio Giovinazzi’s stricken Alfa Romeo Racing machine from the gravel trap, allowing Hamilton to pit and take over at the front, a position he would not give up for the remainder of the race.
Even more remarkable for Isola, Pirelli Motorsport’s Head of F1 and Car Racing, was Hamilton’s ability to set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap on the hardest compound that had already completed thirty-two laps.
“All three compounds played an integral part in a fantastic race, with perhaps the most remarkable performance coming from the hard tyre with Lewis Hamilton, who claimed the fastest lap just before taking the chequered flag, on a set of tyres that had already covered 32 laps,” said Isola.
“And this on one of the most demanding circuits of the year, with energy loads in excess of 4g through some of the corners.
“From start to finish we saw a highly entertaining race with plenty of action and close battles. The safety car was a decisive element, which effectively split the race into two sprints as most drivers took advantage of it to make a pit stop.
“The decision to pit Hamilton from the medium to the hard during this safety car proved to be a key element of his victory.”