Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton was offered two strategic options to play himself into contention for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, only for it to become apparent he couldn't make his prime tyre last long enough to attempt a late super-soft dash.
Unable to keep pace with Nico Rosberg during the first stint, Hamilton – after reducing the leading margin to 1.3secs ahead of his team-mate's second stop on lap 30 – attempted to consolidate this upturn in pace by extending his stint further for another 12 laps.
However, while Hamilton indicated he was keen to take the tyres all the way to the chequered flag, Mercedes informed him such a strategy was 'impossible' given the pace of Rosberg on fresher rubber coming up behind him.
It comes two weeks after Hamilton urged Mercedes to allow him to make more strategic decisions to negate problems overtaking after struggling to better Rosberg in Brazil. As a result, Wolff says option were given to Hamilton and his race engineer this time around.
“We were criticised that we were too much remote controlling last time around and this time there were two strategies that could have worked. We left it to him, his race engineer and his side of the garage as to which strategy they would rather go for.
“It was an offset strategy and it was worth a consideration – go a bit longer and see how that pans out. If he had made that tyre last then he could have gone for the option and that would have been a real goal for him to win the race. The tyre didn't last and then he went into the third best option and obviously that was not optimum.”
Indeed, Wolff justified the decision not to place Hamilton – who went on to finish eight seconds behind Rosberg in second place - on the super-soft tyres when he made his eventual stop with 13 laps remaining by saying it was unclear how far he could make them last as well.
“We were afraid or worried that super-soft wouldn't work until the end,” he continued. “We saw some massive drop off and we saw that in the first stint it only lasted nine or so laps on full fuel and at the end it would have been 15 laps to go and it could have fallen off the cliff. As a result it could have been worse.”