Mercedes explains its strategic choice at Paul Ricard

Beaten by Max Verstappen and Red Bull, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton were trapped in a strategic trap by Christian Horner's troops. The world champions, however, clarified the reasons for their choice.

Published on 21/06/2021 à 11:17

Pierre Tassel

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Mercedes explains its strategic choice at Paul Ricard

Mercedes partly lost the race in the pits at Castellet. © DPPI

“We really thought it would be a one-stop race”. At the microphone of Canal +, Toto wolff, Team Principal of Mercedes, tries to justify the strategic choice of its troops yesterday at Grand Prix of France, ultimately dominated by Max Verstappen's Red Bull.

If the latter had lost the advantage of his pole at the start, the good reading of the race from the red bull stable allowed the Dutchman to put himself back in the fight for victory against Lewis Hamilton, unable to follow the tempo of Verstappen at the end of the race.

So why not opt ​​for such a strategy in the clan of world champions? “Lewis had control of the race in the first stint and we looked like we were a little better on the downgrade, analyzes Andrew Shovlin, head of track engineering at Mercedes.

We initiated the stops ourselves with Valtteri struggling with increasing vibration. This was clearly earlier than our forecast, but it was reaching a level where we had no other option.

Max obviously called the next lap to protect himself against Valtteri. With Lewis having a lead of just over three seconds, we thought that would be enough against the undercut. However, this was not the case.

The degradation was greater than expected but we were wary with the two-stop strategy for Lewis because we had to pass Pérez who had relatively new tires. Once Max passed, our best option was to see if we could just hold on, but unfortunately the race was too long for us. »

Toto Wolff also highlighted the excellent turn of the Red Bull after their stoppage, as another important factor in the result of an event which reassured Christian Horner's men in their ability to compete anywhere against the title holders.

Discover the full report and analysis of the French Grand Prix, produced by our special correspondent at Paul Ricard, in issue 2317 of AUTOhebdo, available this evening in digital version and this Wednesday on newsstands.

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