Lewis Hamilton urges Mercedes to find 'bulletproof method' amid strategy error

Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton has called on Mercedes to find a “bulletproof method” regarding strategy, after he lost out at Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix, prior to a late exit.

Hamilton controlled proceedings after taking the lead from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the start, as the operation initially looked set for a 1-2 finish.

But Bottas’ day came to a premature end when he suffered a loss of hydraulic pressure on lap 14 of 71, his stricken W09 necessitating the use of the Virtual Safety Car.

Red Bull and Ferrari pitted both of its drivers under the VSC – but Mercedes kept Hamilton out, the Briton holding a 13-second lead over Max Verstappen.

Hamilton filtered back into the pack in fourth position when he made his stop, while blistering on his Soft tyres meant he required an additional set of tyres later in the race.

The strategic blunder ultimately proved irrelevant to the outcome of Hamilton’s race when a fuel pressure problem halted his W09 with eight laps to go, but he nonetheless urged Mercedes to up its game.

It is the second time this season Hamilton has relinquished the lead of the race after a misjudged strategic call, having lost out at the opening round in Australia.

“I’m not going to lie, all areas we are going to have to work on,” said Hamilton.

“The car has been great all weekend. We were the quickest and to have two different faults on each car, which is very unusual but we really can’t throw away points.

“We’ve got to find a bulletproof method to move forward for strategy. If our car was still going it was an easy win for us.

“We were comfortably ahead but we will work on it and will try to re-evaluate to come back stronger for the next race.”

Hamilton nonetheless stressed that he has “every confidence” that Mercedes can rebound from its current low point.

“Everyone is the team is really feeling the pain today but I think you just have to look at it, we’ve had such great reliability for so many years and as painful as it is, and we are perfectionists, we really have to take the rough with the smooth,” he said.

“This is definitely the worst weekend for us I can remember for a long, long time. I have every confidence in my team that we’ll be able to bounce back.”