“It was obviously the wrong call,” said Wolff. “We thought the tyre would make it to the end, and it didn’t, but he saved us. His driving saved us. It’s something we really need to analyse.”
The team believed Hamilton would be able to make it to the end of the race on the medium tyres without too much difficult.
“What we calculated is if we were to change lap 15 or 16 the medium would make it to the end with the right management. So being in the lead, that was a pretty straight strategy. It didn’t even seem like a huge stretch.
“[But] we realised 20 laps into the race that on the left-front some graining appeared. He started to complain about the understeer that resulted from the graining and it was clear that it would get very, very difficult to make it to the end.”
Wolff said he had to be told to “calm down” during the final stint as he worried over whether Hamilton would be able to resist Max Verstappen to win.
“We had quite some discussions about the tyres lasting another 40 laps. I was reminded that it was actually only 20 laps on a normal circuit, so calm down a bit.
“But everybody knew that it was going to be a huge stretch and I believe that probably laps to the end he had zero percent rubber left on the tyre. We had massive understeer around the slow speed, go could see around Loews the car wouldn’t turn any more.”
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2019 F1 season
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- ‘I should have done a better job. There’s things that I know I can do better’