Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff responded to fans’ questions about the team’s Monaco Grand Prix strategy which cost Lewis Hamilton a likely victory in the race.
Wolff shed new light on how the disputed decision was taken and rubbished suggestions that the team had deliberately spoiled Hamilton’s race.
Here’s a selection of what Wolff had to say.
Why was the decision to pit Hamilton made in the first place?
“We believed we could make a free stop to cover risk of cars behind on the super-soft. Unfortunately our data was wrong.”
Was there input from Hamilton on whether to stop or not? The post-race interview appeared to suggest there was.
“We told him to stay out and Lewis said “not good” and that the tyres had lost temperature.
“We had one second to react and, combined with our wrong timing data, we made the mistake of calling him in.”
Track position is king so why oh why did anyone think pitting Lewis was a good idea?
“Under the Safety Car you need a 12 second gap to maintain position. Our system showed us that we had that gap.”
Did you not think you should have told Hamilton that Rosberg and Vettel had not pitted? that would have calmed him.
“Vettel still had an opportunity to stop as he had not caught the Safety Car.”
Why didn’t you tell Rosberg to back off to into the first corner when Hamilton was coming out to get him past Vettel?
“Because the Sporting Regulations say you cannot drive “unnecessarily slowly” behind the Safety Car.”
Why were the guys in the pit lane if there was no intention to pit thus bluffing your team mate?
“You put the guys out sometimes to cover a potential late call.”
Do you need to take a more human approach to strategy as everyone watching Monaco knew you made wrong call before you.
“You need the right balance between data and gut feeling. Our tools told us we had the gap but they were wrong.”
Do you think that sometimes you can have too many people involved in the decision process, hence the confusion?
“We have a strict radio protocol and structure how our decisions are made. This is how we’ve won so many races.”
Why doesn’t Lewis and Nico have their own strategist? Surely the team would get on even better with their own?
“Last year proved that we allow our drivers to have a fair and equal fight. Having one strategist allows this.”
If Hamilton passed Vettel would you have asked Rosberg to let Hamilton pass?
“Very good question. It would have been a very tough call to make.”
What were your key findings in the debriefs since and how will you look to improve strategically for the next races?
“Improve software, better communication and a spice more common sense.”
“Just to make one thing clear, we’re right in the middle of this and just as frustrated about our mistake as many of you! This is our life, we eat, breathe, sleep F1.”
Was Rosberg a bit sheepish in the debrief after? Bet he couldn’t believe his luck!
Nico showed great sportsmanship and said to the team he could feel their frustration.
Can you ever rebuild total trust with Hamilton and the team, after Monaco debacle, lost him the win?
“Trust is a key value within our team. One race doesn’t tip that over.”
Did anyone [lose] their job on Sunday?
“Absolutely not. We’re a world championship team and we are not playing a blame game based on a single race.”
Are you happy with the way the team has handled the aftermath of the situation on Sunday?
“We’re not happy about the situation itself & therefore there was no such thing as happiness about that incident.”
Was that deliberate mistake to make the race towards championship interesting?
“Would we ever do this to the guy leading the championship with Ferrari a real threat to us? Answer: No.”
How do Mercedes AMG feel about the rumours that Hamilton was purposely to have a three-time winner on the team?
“Whoever would start such rumours needs their head examined.”
Are you bored of your “fans” asking stupid questions about “sabotage” when it was clearly just a wrong decision in the heat of the race?
“Criticism is OK but we have no respect for dumb comments or abuse.”
Good intentions aside, how do you manage the conflict of interests within the team? Do you understand fans’ concern?
“When two drivers fight for the championship, there is intense competition. We manage it transparently with them.”
lf Hamilton now loses the championship by 10 points or less how will this look/be dealt with?
“It would not look good but this is motor racing. Lewis has our 100% support.”