Damon Hill left frustrated after Mercedes refuse to split strategies
Sky F1 pundit thinks team should have let Lewis Hamilton try another approach to energise the fight at the front; World champion had asked for a different strategy during Brazilian GP
Last Updated: 16/11/15 11:48am
Sky Sports F1's Damon Hill was frustrated Mercedes didn't allow Lewis Hamilton to try a different strategy to Nico Rosberg in an attempt to fight for victory in Brazil.
When it became apparent midway through the race that he was unable to challenge his team-mate on track for victory, Hamilton pleaded with his Mercedes team to put him on a different strategy to Rosberg, but the team were unwilling to drastically alter the pit-stop timings for their two cars.
With both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships settled, Hill would like to have seen Mercedes bow to Hamilton's demands to change strategy.
"I have some sympathy with what Lewis was saying, the drivers should be allowed to call the shots - and if he wants to try something different and basically zag when the other guy is zigging," said the 1996 world champion.
"If you go on the same strategy you are going to get the same situation. Going on a different strategy, something could have happened to Lewis' opportunity. He could have got a better pit-stop, gained a little bit more time in traffic and made it a more interesting race."
It's not the first time that Hamilton has been left frustrated by Mercedes having one strategist make the calls for both cars. After the 2014 Monaco GP he told Sky Sports F1: "When I was at McLaren we had two strategists and the strategy from my strategist was to get the best overall result for me. Unfortunately [at Mercedes] we have one overall strategist."
But Mercedes chief Toto Wolff explained that the policy helped keep Mercedes united, telling Sky Sports F1: "If you start splitting strategy then the controversy in the team becomes very bad."
However, the fight at the front was far from inspiring for viewers on television or spectators at the track, and Hill understood the fans' frustrations.
"It is one of the inherent problems with our sport and how it is structured. The teams have a responsibility to their investors and the team and everything and they have to consider the big picture," he added.
"But you at home are buying a ticket to watch and you want to see the drivers racing against each other so you have every right to say 'well, I am not watching a race, am I? I want my money back.' It is a fair enough point to want to see two guys, in the same team, free to race each other at will."