“We played, we lost” – Wolff explains why Mercedes remained with a one-stop-shop strategy in France – .

“We played, we lost” – Wolff explains why Mercedes remained with a one-stop-shop strategy in France – .

Mercedes’ hopes of winning the French Grand Prix were dashed by Red Bull’s adoption of a surprise two-stop strategy – but why didn’t the Silver Arrows try the same at Paul Ricard ? Team principal Toto Wolff explained everything after the scintillating race.
While Max Verstappen has stopped twice, Sergio Perez was the factor preventing Mercedes from adopting a strategy similar to Red Bull, Wolff said on Sunday. Perez led a one-stop strategy, pitting seven laps later than Valtteri Bottas, eventually overtaking the Finn, and was within sight of Lewis Hamilton at the end of the race. The Mexican’s presence meant that if Mercedes had gone against Hamilton or Bottas, they likely would have ceded a position to Perez.

“The fight between the three cars [Verstappen, Hamilton and Bottas] was intense up front and then you had to opt to continue with one or two saves, ”he said. “Both saves were a danger for us because Perez got in our way. We were wrong today.

READ MORE: How Perez was key to Red Bull’s win in France – and why Mercedes couldn’t respond to Verstappen’s second stop

He added that Mercedes was hoping Perez would receive a five-second penalty for what they saw as a potentially illegal pass on Bottas on lap 49, and therefore kept the Finn out just in case, rather than putting him in contact with new tires for an attempt. to take the bonus point for the fastest lap. Ultimately, the stewards decided Perez’s decision was legal.

“Well we figured Perez would get a penalty for overtaking out of bounds so we said to stay within five seconds so it was really a balance between that penalty and maybe getting the better. tower. So we played; we lost, ”added Wolff.

In the end, it was Verstappen who got the fastest lap bonus point as neither of his rivals could risk a pit stop with the top four separated by just 14.6 seconds at the end of the race. Either way, Wolff pointed to the 18th lap pitstop, when Verstappen stopped and undermined Hamilton, as the reason for Mercedes’ loss on Sunday.

“We lost the race at a standstill,” he said. “Thinking we had enough undercut protection, which we didn’t. We had a solid three second gap to protect ourselves from the undercut and that wasn’t enough… and from there we were on the back foot.

Horner calls Verstappen ‘refund for Barcelona’ after Red Bull loss to Mercedes in France

Looking ahead to Austria’s double header at the local Red Bull circuit where Mercedes hopes to win their first race since the Spanish GP, Wolff said Mercedes needs to “learn” from the pace of Red Bull in France.

“A lot to learn, because we have to understand – I mean they do phenomenal laps – why did we misjudge the undercut? Maybe something we need to look at, ”he concluded.

The Silver Arrows are now 37 points behind Red Bull while Hamilton is 12 points behind Verstappen in this fierce battle for supremacy.


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