(Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton said he was not furious with his team after their pit strategy cost him a podium finish at Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix, saying his anger over the radio came from the heat of the moment while jostling for position.
The seven-times world champion, who started 11th on the grid due to engine penalties, was running in third place when he was told to pit for a tyre change, against his wishes of staying out in a bid to catch up with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Hamilton responded angrily over the radio when he discovered he had lost two places in the pits as he finished fifth, allowing Verstappen to build a lead of six points in the drivers’ standings with six races left.
“Don’t ever expect me to be all polite and calm on the radio when I’m racing, we are all very passionate and in the heat of the moment that passion can come out, as it does for all drivers,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram on Monday.
“My heart and spirit are out there on the track, it’s the fire in me that’s got me this far but any angst is quickly forgotten and we talked it through, already looking ahead to the next race.”
Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli backed Mercedes’ strategy on Sunday, with their head Mario Isola saying it was dangerous on Hamilton’s part to push the boundaries of the intermediate tyres to 58 laps.
Hamilton had said after the race that it was hard for him to give up the position as he did not have the full picture.
“It isn’t true to say I’m furious with my team,” he added. “As a team we work hard to build the best strategy possible but as the race progresses you have to make split decisions, there are so many factors constantly changing.
“Yesterday we took the risk to stay out hoping it would dry, it didn’t. I wanted to risk it and try and go to the end, but it was my call to stay out and it didn’t work. In the end we did pit and it was the safest thing to do.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)