Mercedes explains split strategy approach for British GP
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says both of his drivers would have been deserving of victory at the British Grand Prix, in the wake of a split strategy approach.
Valtteri Bottas qualified ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton for a grand prix at which tyre supplier Pirelli outlined that a two-stop strategy, rather than one-stop, was likely to be favourable.
Bottas defended his position during the early stages and came in for fresh Medium tyres, committing to a two-stop strategy, on lap 16 of 52.
Hamilton, also on Mediums, stayed out, and profited when the Safety Car was called four laps later by making a pit stop for Hard tyres under reduced racing speed.
Hamilton retained the lead and did not stop again while second-placed Bottas came in for Softs with six laps remaining, having built a sufficient advantage to ensure he did not relinquish his runner-up spot.
“In our strategy meeting in the morning, actually the drivers brought up whether there was an offset strategy possible for the guy running second, because if you put them on the same tyre, this is probably how the race is going to end,” said Wolff.
“So picking up on the suggestion, we decided that the second-placed driver would run an offset strategy with the Hard tyre in the middle.
“We weren’t quite sure whether one stop would make it, probably rather thinking it would be a two, also because of a lack of data on the Hard, and this is exactly how it panned out.
“Obviously both of them drove a brilliant race, both of them would have deserved to win the race, and in that instance, the Safety Car swung in the favour of one driver.”
Wolff also suggested that Mercedes may re-evaluate the approach of heading into races with different tyre strategies for its drivers in order to avoid the risk of one losing out.
“The discussion we had with them in the morning was that if you were to put them on the same tyre, on the same strategy, basically Turn 1 or Lap 1 would lock in the result, and we felt that picking up on their suggestion would provide an interesting race,” he said.
“It still overlapped on many instances, we knew they would be racing each other, but then maybe with a different strategy, so that’s what we tried.
“I think in hindsight, we need to look at it, are we favouring somebody unconsciously, which we wouldn’t want to do.
“So for sure it created more experience and more data for us to judge whether it is something we would want to do in the future.”