Wolff: We thought track position would be enough

Published on 15 Apr 2018 11:16

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."


Fergal Walsh

Replies (6)
SE calle.itw 15 Apr 2018 14:330
Posts: 5626
Its strange to see Merc' making so poor decisions. Usually they are the masterminds of F1.
BE krommenaas 15 Apr 2018 18:210
Posts: 155
It's easy to appear a mastermind when your car is a lot quicker than all the others. Now we see that years of engine domination have made them weak in strategy. They should have won all three races and they've won none because of it.
US ajpennypacker 16 Apr 2018 01:550
Posts: 1402
Quite a rush to judgement to suggest they have gotten sloppy at strategy. If anything, it was quite masterful how they got Bottas ahead of Ricciardo. The decision to pit or not to pit during the safety hard was a quick one. As Toto said, during the beginning of the race we didn't see too much overtaking so it was reasonable to prioritize track position. They were wrong, but not egregiously wrong. Look to Ferrari for that. Managing to have Sebastian in 2nd and Raikkonen in 6th by the time the safety car came out.
SE calle.itw 16 Apr 2018 05:570
Posts: 5626
Well, they were sloppy this time around. Yes, they managed to get Bottas ahead of Vettel, but then what? I just think this was a fluke, but 'tis unusual to see them not being ahead of the rest in planning. Ferrari were worse, mind.
Posts: 246
I think the pressures building on leadership, Lewis was poor and I just wonder if he's thinking too much about his next move instead of buckling down and getting on with it. He's not on it and neither s the team, Red Bull were awesome.
Posts: 43
You think to much Toto and your engineers to. Stop thinking to much, you guys had to react thats why you get paid for and not blaming Hamilton. You blow it like in Australia even with a pole from Hamilton you guys fuck it up. So stop blaming Hamilton, your strategy is sad sometimes u need to take risk. The moment Redbull both car came in, you had to call Hamilton is for same Soft tyre.

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