Wolff spells out Mercedes strategy on “really scary” rubber after Hamilton frustration
Hamilton started 11th after a grid penalty for an engine change but had made his way up to fifth behind Sergio Perez during the first half of the race.
In damp conditions at Istanbul Park, with his competitors pitting, Hamilton stayed out on balding intermediates, a strategy that at one stage saw him lapping faster than those on the fresh compound.
As the laps ticked away, Mercedes called Hamilton in for a pit stop but the seven-time champion refused, indicating a good feel with the tyres that were fitted from the start of the race.
With lap times dropping off, however, Hamilton pitted eight laps later, and with just eight laps remaining was unable to challenge Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari for the final podium position.
“It is quite interesting because the intermediate looked really scary,” explained Wolff.
“But we thought we could maybe hang out there and finish third with not stopping, or maybe if a dry line appeared, we could go onto a soft tyre until the end.
“We balanced between pitting and taking it very conservative and fighting with Leclerc and Perez on track for P3, or taking a little bit of a gamble and either winning or finishing third.
“Then we saw Leclerc dropping off and then Lewis dropping off and then it was clear we would not make it to the end.”
Mercedes original call for early stop “correct call”
After realising his declining situation, Hamilton was audibly frustrated with Mercedes’ strategy team for making the pit stop.
Asked which strategy would have yielded the best result for Hamilton, Wolff replied: “The correct call would have probably been taking it very conservative and pitting when everybody pitted for the intermediate, coming out behind Perez, probably behind Leclerc and fighting with them on track for P3.
“That would have probably been correct but that is with hindsight after the race.
“It would have been better than what we have ended up with at the end. Again, it was measured and obviously on the car, he didn’t see how much he was dropping off in the lap time and Leclerc dropping off.
“It was clear if we would have stayed out, we would have lost against [Pierre] Gasly in any case.”
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October 11, 2021 at 09:30AM