Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff doubts his team’s strategy would have allowed them to beat Ferrari if it hadn’t been for the Virtual Safety Car.Lewis Hamilton was leading the race when Sebastian Vettel’s retirement triggered a VSC period. That allowed Hamilton to make his sole pit stops and rejoin the track ahead of Charles Leclerc.
Without the VSC, Hamilton would have fallen to second behind Leclerc after he pitted. Wolff said in that scenario it’s unlikely Mercedes could have passed Ferrari to win.
“We had good pace at the beginning. Lewis was able to hang on to Charles. The Ferraris were pushing very strong, were pushing each other very hard.
“I think we would have gone onto the soft for the last 25 laps and been on a soft against the medium. Realistically, you must say, I don’t think it would have been enough. We would have followed them in the gearbox like in the last few races, but not enough.”
Wolff said Mercedes can’t hide from the fact they weren’t the quickest team at Sochi.
“I think first of all we need to, in the moment of joy, now, we need to be self-aware that on pure speed we didn’t have the performance this weekend. And there’s many areas which we which we need to work on in order to get our get our performance levels back.
“But equally the Sunday result shows you that you must never give up. Even if you go into the race with a package that is not the quickest. If you do things right all of us together, the drivers and the engineers and the management you can still win races. You’ve got to finish.”
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