Mercedes spent seven laps discussing second stop for Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says its strategy team spent seven laps weighing up the merits of making the second stop that ultimately proved crucial in its Hungarian Grand Prix triumph.
Lewis Hamilton extended his first stint by seven laps and used fresher Hard tyres to launch an attack on leader Max Verstappen, but the Red Bull driver held on to retain his advantage.
Hamilton remained within a couple of seconds of Verstappen but on lap 48 was called into the pits for a fresh set of Medium tyres.
It left him with 22 laps in which to reduce a 20-second deficit, a feat which he accomplished, going on to pass Verstappen for victory.
“We discussed it from lap 40 to lap 47, we discussed whether to pit and how to surprise Red Bull,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “It was a debate over seven laps.
“The [team] reacted in the right way and all the learnings we took from Hockenheim with the radio discipline and the protocol that the strategists in the background would come up with options and then James Vowles would be evaluating them and then all of us giving our opinions.
“By this point, Lewis was catching up to Max and it looked like he could overtake him on the hard tyre but we were too marginal on the brakes and we couldn’t continue to follow him in that way.
“So the only option to avoid P2 was to take a risk in the hope that the medium tyre would create an offset.
“At first it didn’t seem very good but from then on the moment Lewis sniffed the opportunity there was no going back.”
The win was Mercedes’ 10th from 12 events in 2019 and leaves the operation 150 points clear of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.