Mercedes admit to 'rookie error' with final Hamilton stop during Brazil GP

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Mercedes technical director James Allison says it was a "rookie error" to pit Lewis Hamilton in the finals laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Having been unable to match Max Verstappen on pure pace during the race, the Briton and his team tried to use two late Safety Cars to beat the Dutchman.

First, he stayed out when those around him stopped for soft tyres, but that left him vulnerable and so when the two Ferrari's clashed, Hamilton too pitted for the red-striped rubber.

“Having not had the shiniest of races up to that point we then just did something plain dumb,” Allison said. “We thought we were exchanging a place for fresh rubber with enough laps left to get that place back promptly and then have a go for the lead.

“That was just factually incorrect because we were exchanging two places – we hadn’t factored in [Pierre] Gasly – and secondly, with the amount of debris on the track, there were a lot more laps taken up by the Safety Car than we’d anticipated.

“I think that was a rookie error of a not [having] quite a quick enough car on the day and trying to stretch too far for a victory that wasn’t on. We just made a mistake.”

Mercedes then absolved Hamilton of any blame in the call, claiming they had given him wrong information, but the world champion was quick to defend his team.

“The team did a really, really good job with the strategy,” said Hamilton. “It wasn’t their decision at the end, they offered it as an opportunity for me.

“I didn’t think it would be so bad considering I’d only come out having lost one place and [it would] give me a chance to quickly get past Albon, but it wasn’t the case, obviously.”

To make matters worse, Lewis then collided with the Red Bull trying to fight for second, picking up a five-second penalty which ultimately dropped him to seventh.