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Mercedes explains call to back off Bottas

  • Published on 22 Sep 2019 17:15
  • comments 9
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes has explained why it made the call to Valtteri Bottas to back off prior to Lewis Hamilton's pit stop during the Singapore Grand Prix. 

Hamilton pitted later than the Ferrari drivers, and as he was undercut by the rest of the drivers in the top six.

Mercedes has stated that Alexander Albon would have been ahead of Hamilton had they not made the decision to back Bottas off and hold up the Red Bull driver. 

"It's not a great call that we made there, but the undercut was, as I said before, more powerful than what everybody expected," Wolff said. "I don't think that Ferrari wanted to swap their drivers with letting Sebastian pit first.

"We risked Lewis' position by keeping him out in order to protect the win and this is why we held Valtteri back, to keep Albon behind.

"Lewis was going to come out behind Albon. So the team result would have been worse with Valtteri doing that. But we owe him that place."

Qualifying the main missed opportunity

Wolff added that Mercedes weekend was hurt in qualifying, where it was beaten to pole position by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc

"With the expectations that we set for ourselves, 4th and 5th is disappointing. We didn't optimise what we could have optimised and I think the main missed opportunity was qualifying. 

"This is what was most decisive in Singapore, you could see the way they [Ferrari] were tuning the car from the get-go it was very powerful. Not at the end."

Replies (9)

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  • What is there to say? He is their second driver. They asked him to second drive, and he second drove. That's all there is to it. Please come back, Rosberg. Come back and spice things up at Merc'. Stay there. Stay forever. Won't you
    Staaaaaaaaay with me?!
    'cause you're aaaall I need!

    • + 0
    • Sep 22 2019 - 18:04
    • Unlike Ferrari, Mercedes has a clear #1 driver defined by performance. I actually think it made a lot of sense for Bottas to slow down to keep both drivers ahead of Albon.

      That being said, I think Mercedes are missing out on points on a regular basis because Bottas is not a top tier driver. Also, it's another consecutive race where Mercedes doesn't get their strategy right. Kudos to Ferrari on that.

      • + 0
      • Sep 22 2019 - 21:43
    • I think they are doing the exact same mistake Ferrari has done again and again with this 1st driver 2nd driver stuff: they are getting static and reliant on one driver and lack the ferociousness two equals can offer. Just look at RB with Max and Ric, or Merc' with Ros and Hammy, and now Ferrari with Vet and Lec. We know they will always attempt to give Hammy the most optimal strategy, we don't know that for certain with Ferrari now.

      • + 1
      • Sep 22 2019 - 22:11
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 234

      Yes, the strategy by Mercedes was logical and the one that maximised their points but it's also because they messed up earlier by going for overcut.

      • + 0
      • Sep 23 2019 - 05:00
  • xoya

    Posts: 481

    This is next level bullshit from mercedes. They are the worst sports team ever, just plainly killing the sports spirit.

    • + 0
    • Sep 23 2019 - 02:00
    • Nah, that would be more like Red Bull roving Webber's front wing and giving to Seb. Ferrari asking Barrichello to move over on the last lap to let Michael win even though their car was as dimant as Mercedes in 2014. That would be Ferrari "Fernando is faster than you". That would be Ferrari giving Raikkonen shit strategy for two years to help Seb in obvious ways and Kimi finishing 5th or 6th.

      Nah, Mercedes is the team that allowed their drivers to crash on no less than three occasions, and race each other every damn race. Only problem is that Bottas is no Rosberg.

      • + 1
      • Sep 23 2019 - 04:04
    • They are getting there. It started with "Let Hamilton through" to Ocon in Monaco, and now we have Bottas serving as Hammy's butler fulltime.

      • + 0
      • Sep 23 2019 - 06:28
    • Kean

      Posts: 610

      @AJ, good points. But like Calle said, Mercedes are getting there. but I think they still have a way to go. I think Bottas did his job well, if I were to rate his performance in the race I'd rate him the same as Ham or higher. Ham fell back two positions, Bottas didn't. The team opted for a bad strategy for Ham and when it was apparent that the overcut didn't work Ham still wanted to stay out, and that in turn resulted in a bad strategy for Bottas. Had they gone for the undercut with Ham, there would have been no reason to hold Bottas back.

      • + 0
      • Sep 23 2019 - 07:31
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,162

      I just don't like those so-called team decisions, there is nothing team about it, it prefers their lead driver and it robs the viewers from seeing a real fight. However I am well aware that everything in F1 is managed so this is just an extension of the same. Covering off Verstappen didn't cost Leclerc an victory it was the strategy of not creating a gap between the lead pack and followers.

      Although Ferrari won and got an 1-2 it came through one of the boring races I have seen for a long time. Their insistence to tyre saving the first 10-15 laps was extremely though to watch. If this is what Ferrari classes an success I'd rather watch FE.

      • + 0
      • Sep 23 2019 - 10:27

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