Mercedes 'stunned' by Lewis Hamilton's late fastest lap
Mercedes has “no idea” how Lewis Hamilton was able to set the best time of the British Grand Prix on the race’s final lap, according to its strategy director.
Formula 1 introduced an extra point for fastest lap in 2019 and often the accolade has gone to a front-runner who has pitted for Soft tyres in the closing stages of the race.
But at Silverstone Hamilton set the fastest lap on the 52nd and final lap, during which he was equipped with 32-lap old Hard tyres.
It allowed him to edge Valtteri Bottas’ time by 0.037s, with the Finn’s effort on lap 47 having come on a set of Soft tyres that had just been fitted to his Mercedes W10.
“We truthfully have no idea at all how Lewis did the fastest lap of the race on 32-lap old, Hard tyres,” said strategy chief James Vowles.
“Hardest tyre available, completely used up and yet he does a fantastic lap at the end. Well done to him, no idea.
“Because we weren’t expecting him to do that fastest lap of the race on 32-lap old Hard tyres, we did actually plan for him to do an extra pit stop towards the end. It was a free pit stop.
“Valtteri behind had to stop anyway, he’d only run Mediums at that point, so had to complete the requirement for the race of using another compound.
“And with Lewis, we very much called him in with the intention of that, giving him a fresh set of tyres and going for fastest lap.
“He was very comfortable with how his tyres were behaving however which is why ultimately, we left him out and as you saw, he did the fastest lap irrespective.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff quipped that Hamilton’s lap “made the data look silly”, given the circumstances in which it was set.
“Fastest lap with 32-old Hard tyres is very surprising,” said Wolff.
“We tend to have a laugh as the engineers have their new presentation in our Sunday morning meeting which basically says you don’t need to go for fastest lap, it doesn’t make sense anyway.
“And then he pulls one out like this which makes the whole data look a little bit silly, but it’s just his ability.”
The fastest lap swing meant Hamilton departed Silverstone 39 points clear of Bottas in the championship.