Race engineer Peter Bonnington asked the driver whether he wished to take on new tyres during a late safety car.
Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington asked his driver whether he wished to take on new tyres during a late safety car.
The seven-time world champion elected to stay out, tandis que George Russell, who started 12th, took advantage of the period to make his sole tyre switch.
Russell was able to fight his way past Hamilton to finish one place ahead of his team-mate in fifth.
“In that scenario, I have no clue where everyone is, so when the team say ‘it is your choice’, I don’t have the information to make the decision,” said Hamilton.
“That’s what your job is. Make the decision for me as you have all the details and I don’t. I rely on the guys for that, but today they gave the decision to me and I didn’t understand it.
“When you are given that responsibility it feels like gambling and I don’t like that. It was just a bit unfortunate.”
Russell and Hamilton went wheel-to-wheel for the first time as Mercedes team-mates. Russell was instructed to give Hamilton back the place after an illegal off-track move before getting his man on the following lap.
Hamilton said: “George was on the best tyre to start with, and in hindsight maybe I could have started on the hard tyre. But he did a great job to recover from his starting position.
“He was fair and had fresh tyres so I was a bit of a sitting duck. I am waiting for a change in fortune, but until then I will keep working as hard as I can.”
Russell, who has amassed 23 more points more than Hamilton after five races, mentionné: “Obviously you leave a bit more room when you’re battling with your team-mate than you ordinarily would do.
“I was told I had to swap positions back and that was a little bit frustrating as I was catching the guys ahead. Fortunately we all came home in one piece.”