Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has explained the decision to change the strategy of both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton midway through Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Rosberg and Hamilton ran first and second throughout the race, making their first pit stops on lap 26 and 28 respectively. Mercedes originally planned to run both to the end of the race on the medium compound tire.
However, on lap 46, Rosberg pitted for a second time, taking another set of mediums. Hamilton continued for another two laps before stopping, questioning the logic behind Mercedes’ decision.
After the race, both Rosberg and Hamilton – who duly finished first and second respectively – said that their tires felt fine, leaving neither certain why the decision to pit was taken.
However, Wolff explained after the race that in light of the 30 second gap to the field that had been built up and the tire wear during the first stint, Mercedes opted to play it safe and bring both drivers in.
“From our side, it was a simple precaution,” Wolff said. “After the first stint on the option tire, we had seen higher than expected wear levels and one of Lewis’ tires was even down to 0% rubber.
“The stint we were trying to do with the prime was already on the limit, and with that information in hand and a pit-stop gap to spare to the next car, it was the low-risk option to stop both cars again.
“Lewis obviously had a few questions about that and that’s totally normal – race drivers have emotions and if they didn’t focus on winning every time, they wouldn’t be the talents they are. But we have the overview on the pit wall and Lewis followed the instruction to pit.
“After that, the safety car came out and made the matter academic: we would have pitted both cars for fresh tires anyway. But it was Nico’s day today: he didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend and fully deserved his win.”