Wolff delighted with "go for it" strategy


Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff has heaped praise on his team for its bold strategic gamble in the Singapore Grand Prix.

Drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were two of a handful of drivers to make a second pit stop for fresh rubber and it was gamble that almost paid off.

Mercedes pitted the pair under the VSC that followed Esteban Ocon's retirement, Russell losing two places in the process and his teammate one.

However, on their fresher mediums they were soon able to reel in Charles Leclerc before setting their sights on Lando Norris who was hard on the heels of race leader Carlos Sainz.

As the pair hunted down the McLaren, it became clear that Hamilton was in no mood to play second fiddle to his Mercedes teammate, the seven-time world champion pushing Russell all the way.

Meanwhile, in a bid to protect his own position, Sainz had been backing up the McLaren driver.

On the final lap however Russell clipped the wall at Turn 10 and having damaged his car careered off into the barriers, allowing his teammate to take the final podium position.

It was a bold strategic gamble that almost paid off.

"We tried to win and we didn't," said Wolff. "The positives are that I love the call from driver and strategy team to say 'we're going for it'.

"The worst case was second and fifth, best case we win - first and second - our planner showed that at times.

"I'm sad for George," he admitted, "because he delivered a 99.9% fantastic weekend and a split-second lack of concentration clipped the wall and this happened, but I said to him I'd rather this happening now and the learning is there rather than when we race for a victory or championship this will be engraved in him, this mistake.

"Lewis had a difficult day yesterday and he rebounded, had lots of pace at the end, a deserved podium. So it's bittersweet, but overall I'm happy about the performance, happy about where the car was all weekend, and I think we gave it our best shot.

"We must not forget it's George's second year in a competitive car," he added, "and he was willing, giving it all he had, to win the race.

"At that stage the only way of overtaking Norris and maybe Sainz was to not leave a millimetre on track, and Lando kissed the wall, and he was behind him and he hit it harder, so yeah that cost him the race, but if you push like this these things can happen.

"This is the positive," he insisted, "that you say we've been really strong here, we could have won here, we could have finished first and second here on merit and that will energise us even more.

"On this particular track we were strong, so not everything is wrong, and you see on the planner P1 and P2 popping up at times and think it could have been an unbelievable day, and it's not, but I'd rather fall back on the positives of this weekend like you said and go back home and say that was a good one."

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Published: 18/09/2023
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