Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2019

Hamilton saved Mercedes after “wrong call” on tyres – Wolff

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Mercedes tam principal Toto Wolff admitted the team made a mistake by putting Lewis Hamilton on the medium compound tyres for the second stint in the Monaco Grand Prix.

He praised Hamilton for rescuing the victory despite having little rubber left over the final 20 laps.

“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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13 comments on “Hamilton saved Mercedes after “wrong call” on tyres – Wolff”

  1. Yes, he indeed did. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the tyres had entirely failed before the end, but fortunately for him, and the team they held for just long enough.

  2. Great win there by Lewis and him dedicating the win to Lauda was special. Not many are lucky enough to Timely dedicate achievements to their Hero. He set out from the beginning of the weekend to get pole+win and dedicate that achievement to Lauda. He even led every lap of the race. A grand slam.

    1. @amg44 pole + win a decent effort, but Grand Slam needs also fastest lap. Which went to Gasly.

      1. @psynrg

        Yup forgot that one. Thanks for correction.

  3. Verstappen had a 5 second penalty! Of course Hamilton would win

    1. If the speed difference was as great as it seemed, it wouldn’t have taken many laps to pull out 5 seconds… Though I suspect it was a bit too late when VER did his silly move.

      1. Unless HAM tyres deteriorated so much that VET could easily passed him, it seems pretty clear that VER would open 5 seconds from the second driver (given the pass happened before the lasts laps try).
        VER move was silly yet sensible. Silly because cars closer at the tunnel exit couldnt make in past races. Sensible, because he would not finish 2nd anyway. So he would be waging a 4th place for chance to win.
        VER is certainly bold, but it “worries” me that he is trying things and losing.
        The proverbial driver would always go for tha gap, but VER seems to be seeing gaps were they werent.
        He got lucky with the unsafe release – usually it would call for a drive through.

      2. That would have happen with an early overtake, but in the last 10 laps and under (when things got heated) I doubt he would have pulled 5 seconds with the remaining laps

  4. How on earth did Mercedes make that call when the hard tyre is available?! 11 laps gone was far too many laps to go on medium. Who makes these calls? The average race fan could do better

    1. Come into the live chat for Canada, make the calls live – put your money where your mouth is!

  5. Really strange to see such kind of blunder from Mercedes…

    In a sense Max driving into Valtteri has saved latter’s race, or at least gave him an easier ride than Lewis had.

    One thing is for sure – they learn from such experiences.

  6. Mercedes uploads a strategy debrief to their Youtube channel after every race, I’m very interested to hear why they picked Mediums over Hards. From the outside it didn’t make any sense.

    1. According to Vowles their pit window for mediums opened at around lap 15; so bringing it forward to lap 11 was thought to be OK. Plus if they had gone hard; as the first ones to pit, the RB and Ferrari would have gone medium and got their tyres working before the Mercedes could. It was clear 20 laps into the stint that their tyre life projection for the mediums was wrong.

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