Toto Wolff has explained that Mercedes decided not to pit Lewis Hamilton under the safety car, as it believed track position would be enough to keep them in place. Hamilton was passed by both Red Bulls and Kimi Raikkonen in the latter stages of the race.
Raikkonen pitted for fresh mediums before the deployment of the safety car, but ten laps later than Hamilton. After the call was made to bring out the safety car when the two Toro Rosso's collided, Red Bull brought both Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen into the pit lane for new soft tyres.
Ricciardo went on to win the race, while Verstappen was left to rue a number of mistakes which cost him a shot at victory. With pitting under the safety car proving to be the better strategy in hindsight, Wolff explained that the team thought it would not be worth coming in.
"We thought at the time that track position would be more than [enough],” he said. "You could see in the first stint there was no overtaking. Lewis’s tyre was a medium with at that stage barely 10 laps on.
"Our calculation predicted that the medium would last until the end and putting on a new soft, we thought, wouldn’t give you such a performance advantage. Much more than we expected. Now looking back it would have been for sure the right strategy to pit for the second soft. But nobody in the team, including myself, thought it was the right thing to do.”
Wolff also shut down comments suggesting that Mercedes is too conservative when it comes to strategic decisions. The Austrian pointed out that its undercut attempt with Valtteri Bottas allowed the Finn to challenge for the victory.
"We are very flexible," he said. "I think we have a very good group of strategies. You can see that the undercut for Valtteri worked brilliantly. It becomes very complex if you have six cars in the frame for winning races instead of one or two.
"Suddenly there is so much more options open. Red Bull did a very bold call in pitting both of them for the soft. For them it’s the right thing to do and it proved to be 100% spot-on."