George Russell, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Mercedes’ tyre strategy calls may have cost them two wins in a row – Binotto

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes rivals Mercedes were quick enough to win the last two races but they didn’t make the right choices on tyre strategy.

Lewis Hamilton finished second to Max Verstappen at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez today and in Austin a week ago. On both occasions he was left questioning his team’s tyre strategy.

In Austin, Hamilton was left without a fresh set of medium tyres for the final stint. He had to run on hards, which allowed Verstappen to catch and pass him on mediums.

The pair ran different strategies again today. Hamilton started on mediums and switched to hards, while Verstappen went from soft to medium and pulled away from his rival, finishing 15 seconds ahead.

Ferrari, who have been criticised over their strategy choices in some races this year, mirrored Red Bull’s tactics by starting both drivers on the soft tyres and switching to mediums. Binotto believes Mercedes cost themselves a chance to win for the second weekend in a row today by not doing the same.

“In Hungary we have been criticised and it’s normally when we are doing things which are not completely right, we are criticised,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “Mercedes maybe have lost the last race as well by not choosing the right tyres in Austin. So I think it’s not only down to us somehow to make different choices or making mistakes.”

Ferrari endured one of their toughest race weekends with an ill-handling car. However they believe they got the strategy call correct after realising early on that the soft tyre was durable enough to run a one-stop strategy in the heat of Mexico.

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“We saw that there was not much degradation on the soft, or sufficient to run a one-stop soft-medium, and we went for it,” said Binotto.

Parc ferme, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Mexican Grand Prix in pictures

“Certainly then in the race we had as well to manage our tyres to make sure that we’re surviving on a one-stop and that maybe as well is part of the cause of our slow pace of today. So managing tyres has been certainly an item a subject for us today. But still we believe that soft-medium was the right choice for the race.”

Charles Leclerc enquired about making an extra pit stop at one point, but the team realised it would leave him with too many cars to overtake.

“We saw that the one-stop would have been the fastest race today,” he said. “So our main plan was a one-stop race, soft and medium.

“With Charles at some stage he asked us well for a plan C, it was a solution which was simply switching over to a two stop because he knew that the tyres were difficult. But he would have simply pitted into many traffic and much traffic, behind seven cars and it would not have been the right choice.

“So the one stop was the main plan and I think at the end of today it was the right plan for the race.”

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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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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26 comments on “Mercedes’ tyre strategy calls may have cost them two wins in a row – Binotto”

  1. Andre Furtado
    31st October 2022, 1:09

    What goes around comes around. Every dog has its day. Good for binoto.

    1. Did I miss something? Did Toto go after Ferrari when they had their run of stupid strategy calls?

      1. Coventry Climax
        31st October 2022, 10:01

        Toto goes after anything, even things that aren’t there and/or may distract from their own transgressions. It even rubs off on his driver’s, complaining about each and everything they think they see others do wrong and may gain advantage over, complaining to .. well, anyone; race control, media, you name it. It’s like a soccer player feigning injury and hoping the referee falls for it, only not just during the game, but outside of it as well.
        Some call it tactics. For me, even for under 10 year olds, it’s dispicable behaviour. Toto is the embodiment of hypocrisy.
        I’m the first to criticise the FIA’s incompetence, which certainly means they themselves are largely to blame for controversy and this snitch behaviour in the first place, but still: Be a grown up, leave it to the referees, and channel your ‘discontent’ in another way.

  2. Alfa had good pace but it was clear Ferrati power

    1. Mercedes power is clearly superior to ferrari and Honda is somehow clearly at the top.

  3. I don’t think so but it’s good to see someone point the finger on them to make some changes because their strategies are very conservative most of the time for years already and nothing is ever done about it.

    Now that they don’t have the machine to compensate, we can see how stale and predictable they are. They assumed Red Bull had to stop because that would be the only way their strategy made sense, even when it was obvious they were going to the end.

    1. Edvaldo, I don’t think it became obvious RBR were going to do a one-stop until after Mercedes had already made their stops. It might have been closer if Merc had gone for a soft/medium strategy, but I don’t think it is correct to say that Merc taking a gamble on the hard tyre was a “conservative” strategy.

      1. Red Bull pushed the soft tyres until past their life to do a one stopper.

        If they ever intended on going for 2 the first stint would be shorter and faster.

        I for one doubted they were stopping again when Max had a 7s gap after the first round of pits. That’s enough time to adapt and nurse without pressure the tyres that were still good on other cars by that point. And It was exactly what happened. Mercedes only wished Red Bull was doing a 2 stopper

      2. It was pretty obvious from the start when the mediums alone could last 50 laps.

        Even for us fans that mean softs could potentially last 25 laps or even 30 from the start.

        And voila. Just 1 stop needed.

  4. “And I think what’s more important is seeing that once again we had a good package, there is no reason why not to win 10 races from now to the end.”

    Binotto said that after French GP, where Leclerc crashed out of P1. Instead of 10 Ferrari wins since then, we saw 8 Red Bull victories and total Max Verstappen domination, with 2 races still to go. Binotto, Ferrari and their both drivers were destroyed by Max this year and what’s even more important, it’s going to happen again in 2023, 2024 and 2025. Enjoy F1, Ferrari fans.

    1. In this particulary case, Ferrari destroyed itself.
      Too much errors and hésitations.
      They didnt even need red bull for it.
      And I do like Ferrari and wish them to Win, but seriously …
      Still not the level they need to win championship

  5. Good to see Binotto reference that SkySport Mercedes F1 isn’t just biased against Red Bull.

  6. Binotto has a point. Ferrari would have been called out massively for those choises. I was surprised last week how limited the comments on Mercs strategy were in the interviews I saw.

  7. Woah, Binotto has been quite agressive latelly .
    Is this the Halloween effect ? 😁

  8. Hahah, can’t shake the feeling that Binotto is trolling Toto lately.

  9. Strategy advice from Ferrari..

    1. Where has Mercedes fallen?

  10. The difference is that Ferrari cars were capable enough to beat Redbulls when they made the wrong strategy calls, Mercedes is simply trying alternative strategies to outrun a faster car. There is no way any of the two Mercedes’ would win a race on the same strategy as Redbull.

    1. Agree completely.

      I feel Binotto would have been better off just shutting his trap. Ferrari threw away races when they had the pole positions and raceday P1 positions. They threw races away that were hard to lose. The fact that he’s comparing himself to Mercedes is a joke. They’re the 3rd quickest car on the grid and have rarely had the pace to even come close to the Red Bulls. They were a massive underdog at the Mexican GP, and were trying an alternate strategy to somehow outfox a much quicker Red Bull.

      I don’t know understand how a team principal with the worst race strategist on the grid, can even have the gall to comment on another teams strategy.

      1. You are both right: the Mercedes is nowhere near the RB in pace. You can’t expect to finish in front of a faster with the same strategy.

  11. Rubbing it in ..
    But he really has a point. Starting on mediums destroyed the almost guaranteed opportunity to pass the pole sitter as happened all years before
    The Merc was on par with the red bull but strategy and driver made the difference.

  12. Binotto sure has become an expert of strategy errors this season lol will be more worthwhile he fixes his own team before passing judgement on others

    1. Furthermore, Merc may have lost a race or two due to strategy, Ferrari lost the whole season

  13. Any kind of strategy worked for Merc when they had the kind of power advantage they had to turn down their PU so there could be the semblance of a competition. And any kind of chauffeur too.

  14. Indeed, but easy for him to say.

  15. Mark in Florida
    31st October 2022, 14:26

    Binotto needs to be quiet about someone else’s strategy calls. Ferrari has no one to call strategies anymore. I hear that Binotto just shakes the magic 8 ball and whatever answer floats up that’s what they do. Mercedes has messed up but, their mess ups have been a lot fewer and farther in between. In fact Ferrari should fire the entire trackside staff including Binotto. Right nows a good time to start fresh for next year. He makes Arrivabene look like a strategy genius. Just saying…

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