Mercedes admitted the shouldn’t have risked a final extra pit stop for Lewis Hamilton at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix.Alexander Albon, but he fell behind Pierre Gasly as well.
“From the moment that we made the call, it was a heart-sink moment after he emerged from the box behind Gasly,” said technical director James Allison. “And then we just were thinking ‘why do we do that’?”
After studying their strategy calls more closely in the days since the race, the team’s trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said the team underestimated how long the Safety Car would be out for.
“When we decided to call Lewis in on that final Safety Car, we had seen that the Ferraris had collided,” he said in a video published by Mercedes. “One of them was off at turn four and reasonably clear of the track.
“Vettel was making his way round with a puncture, that was dropping a bit of debris, but we thought he would get back to the pits. At the point the Safety Car was called, Lewis was at turn 12, so there wasn’t long for us to discuss this decision.
“Subsequent to that, Vettel pulled over before he made it back, although he was reasonably clear of the track, but [Lance] Stroll unfortunately got taken out by debris from Vettel. This meant that the Safety Car period was longer than we might have got away with.”
However even if the Safety Car period had been shorter, Mercedes realised Hamilton stood to gain too little from the call.
“Regardless of that, we’ve looked at the situation [and] it was a real gamble. Probably in the best-case scenario we’d have made it back to where we started in second and on reflection it wasn’t a good call.
“So, were we doing the race again, that’s the single decision that we’d really like to change.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2019 F1 season
- McLaren Racing reports reduced £71 million loss in 2019
- Kvyat: Hockenheim podium last year was “my biggest achievement” so far
- How the FIA’s new encrypted fuel flow meter targets Ferrari’s suspected ‘aliasing’ trick
- “He smashed my office door”: 23 must-see moments from ‘Drive to Survive’ season two
- ‘I should have done a better job. There’s things that I know I can do better’