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Vettel defends Ferrari's strategy after Mercedes win

  • Published on 27 Oct 2019 23:48
  • comments 4
  • By: Dieter Rencken & Fergal Walsh

Sebastian Vettel has defended Ferrari's strategy that saw it go from holding the first two positions early on in the race to ending up second and fourth at the chequered flag.

Lewis Hamilton took his tenth win of the 2019 season in Mexico, getting to the end of the race on a one-stop strategy - as did Vettel and the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

However, Hamilton made his stop 14 laps earlier than Vettel and found himself being chased down in the final laps by the Ferrari driver, who had Bottas to contend with himself. 

The second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who led the race during the opening stages, switched onto a two-stop strategy.

Vettel believes that Ferrari was correct to stay out much longer than Hamilton, as it was far from clear that the one-stop strategy would work with such an early pit stop. 

"Before the race, we were quite sure that we had to make it to a certain lap to make the one-stop work," Vettel said. "When Lewis pitted, that wasn't the case yet. 

"We were one and two and it looked like the better strategy, the faster strategy. We split the cars, and if you go for the one-stop, you might as well go for the one-stop properly and not half-hearted. 

"When Lewis pitted, it was borderline, maybe too early. But he made the tyres last and had enough towards the end. Plus, we didn't see any graining in the race as we did on Friday which made the biggest difference."

Mercedes 'might as well' try risky strategy

Speaking about Mercedes' race, Vettel said that they were in a more comfortable position behind the two Ferraris early on to make a bolder strategy call.

"After that, you could argue that we could have taken more risk but at that point you are driving into the unknown.

"I think what they [Mercedes] tried to do was fit the hards and see if it makes it. If it doesn't make it, you might as well fit another set at the end and there's your two-stop.

"When you are sitting in P3 and having the chance of first or fifth, you might as well try it."

Replies (4)

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  • I'm actually not convinced that Mercedes had the better strategy. It's just that #1 Lewis was outstanding managing his pace/tyres, it wasn't supposed to be this way. #2 track position mattered a lot more than anticipated due to the temperature issues when following closely without a large speed differential. Without issues #2, I feel certain that Ferrari could have finished the 70+ laps sooner than Mercedes. At any rate, this was another race where Ferrari had the faster car and still didn't manage to win.

    • + 0
    • Oct 28 2019 - 07:59
    • This race was rather a matter of downforce, not only of speed, due to the high altitude. Also, Lewis was not the only one who managed hard tyres well, which means that Merc did have the best strategy. Hard tyres lasted longer once again thanks to the high altitude. High altitude was the decisive factor for everything.

      • + 0
      • Oct 29 2019 - 06:41
  • seemed like the right thing to do at the time i guess

    • + 0
    • Oct 28 2019 - 18:00
  • ashavin301

    Posts: 21

    What is vetle really saying??
    In this level of sport you must have all scenarios covered and be able to counter at a moments notice.
    BUT, the thing is that vettle cant call out the (useless) strategist at ferrari when they make mistakes because he is making mistakes for lunch, breakfast, and dinner. So let the mediocre performances continue.
    I honestly don't know where ferrari are going with this combination of a error prone strategist and a washed up former 4 time world champion.
    After japan, am done with vettle, he's finished as a top drive, time to move on...

    • + 0
    • Oct 29 2019 - 14:46

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