Mercedes strategy didn’t gift Ferrari the win – Wolff

2017 Australian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says their strategy didn’t gift Ferrari victory in the Australian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel moved ahead of Lewis Hamilton by making his first pit stop later than the pole sitter. Hamilton got held up behind Max Verstappen, allowing Vettel in to win.

2017 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
Asked if the decision to pit Hamilton the win to Ferrari Wolff said: “It’s not Christmas.”

“Some you win and some you lose the day,” he told the BBC. “Today we were not quick enough and Sebastian is a well-deserved winner.”

However Wolff conceded Mercedes may have overestimated how quickly the tyres were going to degrade.

“You just need to be faultless in order to win,” he said. “Today we weren’t quick enough and the tyre was degrading.”

“Maybe we were thinking it was degrading more than it was. But it’s a good wake-up call.”

The two Mercedes drivers finished on the podium behind Vettel. Wolff cautioned Ferrari’s victory doesn’t necessarily mean they have displaced Mercedes as the team to beat in Formula One.

“After the first race you cannot talk about a new world order,” he said.

“It’s fact is the Ferrari is very quick and we’ve seen today the tyres are very critical. You need to keep them in the right window. If you over-slide them you’re just driving much slower.”

“Now we need to learn the lessons.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Mercedes strategy didn’t gift Ferrari the win – Wolff”

  1. Toto Wolff says their strategy didn’t gift Ferrari victory in the Australian Grand Prix

    Seeing Wolfs reaction on TV said different.
    But first race still relatively close this could be a good season, great if RedBull get it together.

    1. Hamilton said in the press conference that it was his call to pit

      1. Thats still strategy and it didn’t quite work out.

    2. I am pretty sure that Mercedes know quite well what happened “Maybe we were thinking it was degrading more than it was. But it’s a good wake-up call.” – to me that shows they knew relatively soon that it was just Lewis getting himself into feeling bad in the car again (he’s done that a fwe times in the last couple of years).

      The strategy mistake was then made out of their still lingering feeling of comfort – they could allow themselves to pit pretty much anytime they wanted up until the end of last season. This season you can’t that easily give up track position.

      Bottas showed that the car could have gone quicker if they had put their mind to it. Good job Vettel / Ferrari in pushing Lewis/Mercedes into losing this one

  2. Mercedes and Hamilton worked themselves into a shoot.

    1. Careful… :P

  3. No Hamiltons whinging did absoloute gutted how much he moaned today. Was like he was gutted Vet was so close yet after he was like game onto Seb i get you next time. So who knows he should did what Bottas done he was way quicker than Bottas and do not tell me Bottas was saving tyres these tyres you can push. I feel Hamilton was caught out by fact it been so easy last few years.

    1. Except that Hamilton / Mercedes said he only stopped one lap earlier than his intended lap anyway.

  4. Well, seeing that pitting HAM put him behind the “unpassable” VER, I find that observation a bit wrong.
    He did say that Ferrari won in their own terms, so kudos to him though.

  5. You didn’t have to be perfect Toto, you just had to wait with pit stop. Tired of excuses already…

    1. “Tired of excuses already…”

      Damn son, first race of the year? Enjoy it :D

  6. Ferrari gifted Mercedes the win last year and Ferrari took their revenge today.

  7. I don’t get this. Maybe we were thinking the tyres were degrading more than they were? It was a call from Lewis? So either Lewis wore the tyres out more or didn’t have the feel for them. Regardless, it’s nice of Mercedes to take the blame.

    1. Lewis is part of Mercedes so how can Mercedes not take the blame?

      1. If Lewis makes the mistake of misjudging the tyre degradation that’s his fault, not the team’s. They’re taking the blame. Not him.

    2. Mercedes over estimated the degradation of the tyres, which means that they thought that the tyres were degrading, but actually they weren’t. I was nearly shouting at my screen when I saw Lewis pit but he lost almost 0.8 to Vettel before the pit straight and that was just as soon as he hit traffic, I think it was Marcus Ericsson in front of them and Lewis said that as soon as he hit traffic, the car just started sliding and the tyres were overheating. I have not watched the pit wall from Mercedes, but in my point of view, Lewis’ tyres were fine. Mercedes might have panicked but Lewis should have known better.. last year he defended from Seb when he was on fresher tyres than him, and that was when overtaking was easier. This year, both cars are evenly matched on pace and the delta for someone to overtake is higher than last years… Lewis should have stayed out and known better because this is a street circuit and we all know the golden rule in them: Track position always king.

      1. Lewis has a decency to complain about his tyres and feeling them as gone when they can be pushed more.
        I have seen him say “the tyres are gone” or “this tyres have no grip” many times when there was no way that the tyres were gone. Hell even in this race he said his second said of softs was gone jst a few laps after he put them and then he went a lot more laps with them until the end.

        I don’t understand why he does this but maybe he likes saying “tyres are gone” when meaning something else? Is strange. He needs to be more calm about his tyres and not get so frustrated about them when they show a little less grip at times.

  8. Lewis pitted too early. He could’ve kept Vettel behind easily for some more laps and gain on Max

    But of course I’m not on the car or at the pit wall so maybe I’m missing something here.

  9. I’d love to be disappointed and learn lessons in 2nd & 3rd place.

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