- Malaysian GP - Race
Strategy did not cost me win - Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton doubts Mercedes could have beaten Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel even if it had matched the German driver's two-stop strategy in Malaysia.
The decisive moment of the race came in the early stages when Mercedes called in both Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg for a pit stop after the deployment of the safety car. Vettel stayed out and Mercedes spent the remainder of the grand prix playing catch up.
Ultimately the three-stop strategy failed, with a fraught Hamilton complaining via radio after his final stop that the hard tyres fitted to his car were the wrong choice. Eventually he finished nearly nine seconds down on Vettel but he doubts a different strategy would have made a huge difference given Vettel and Ferrari's pace.
"Firstly, a huge congratulation to Ferrari and to Sebastian, they did an amazing job," Hamilton said. "I mean, jeez, they had some good pace today. I gave it everything I could, we did as a team. I knew coming into this weekend they had made a step, we didn't know how big, but they were too fast for us today.
"I don't really know whether I had stayed out with him whether it would have made much difference. They were probably just as good, if not a little bit better, on tyre deg so I still think it would have been very, very close. But I think naturally after that first stop we had so much time to make up it was pretty much impossible.
The world champion added: "We'll get back together at a team and figure out where we were losing time today. My balance wasn't great, particularly, so there's definitely areas we can improve and I'm sure we'll be fighting for the next race which I'm really excited about."
Late in the race, a radio message was broadcast where Paddy Lowe asked "Shall we stop Lewis again?" for medium tyres, a message Hamilton was not supposed to hear. Though Hamilton questioned the strategy at the time he does not think a fourth stop would have been a good idea.
"I think it's impossible to do a fourth stop. I was already trying to chase down a 14- or maybe a 16-second gap so it would have been closer to a 40-second gap which would have been impossible to close."