Mercedes: 'We got it wrong, Red Bull got it right'
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admits his team got their strategy call wrong, whilst Red Bull's gamble to stop under the Safety Car was the right call.
Although Red Bull looked unlikely to win the race during the opening stint, the race completely flipped on its head when a Safety Car came out at the half way point. A brave call by Red Bull to pit both its cars immediately turned out the be a decisive move, allowing Daniel Ricciardo on fresh tyres to slice his way through the pack to take the lead and the victory, despite running sixth when the race restarted.
Although then race leader Valtteri Bottas would have been unable to stop due to the timing of the Safety Car, team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who had been running between Max Verstappen and Ricciardo when the Safety Car came out and could therefore have stopped, was kept out by his team with Wolff admitting they believed track position would be crucial – a decision which he admitted was the wrong call.
"The luck has been going against us in these first couple of races and again we had a Safety Car at the wrong moment," he told Sky Sports.
"We had a great race, the fans loved it and it [the Safety Car] mixed everything up. The two Red Bulls were bold enough to pit for tyres, we thought track position was more important, we got it wrong, they got it right. They probably deserve to win."
Wolff says Mercedes needs to "get its act together" after a poor weekend in China, which means its now failed to win a race this year.
"The whole weekend we were just not good enough everywhere. We thought holding track position would be beneficial, we even discussed it this morning because you could see in the first stint there was no overtaking. You could see even Raikkonen stayed out."
When asked if they should have pitted Hamilton, Wolff replied: "Yes, now. 30 minutes after the race, in hindsight, you are right.
"This weekend we were probably third or fourth [fastest]. We need to get our act together."