SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – Race results
Toto Wolff has suggested he didn't expect the decision to move Lewis Hamilton onto 'Plan B' for his strategy to inadvertently almost cost Nico Rosberg a victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.
With Hamilton struggling for pace throughout the Singapore race having slipped to fourth behind Kimi Raikkonen during the second stint, Mercedes attempted to get the jump by pitting him again for super-soft rubber.
An attempt to either catch Raikkonen by the end of the race or force Ferrari into pitting, the Scuderia
opted for the latter, with Hamilton duly getting the jump on him to move back into third, much to the evident delight of the Mercedes team in the garage.
F1 World Championship Standings (After Singapore GP)
However, the move would unintentionally offer Red Bull – running second with Daniel Ricciardo – to attempt the same strategy against Mercedes' race leading Nico Rosberg. With Ricciardo pitting with 13 laps remaining, he 22secs to make up on Rosberg, who was forced to go to the end on his ailing soft tyres.
Nevertheless, though Ricciardo was initially forecast to catch with two laps remaining, an indifferent run through traffic would mean he'd only get onto the tail of the W07 just as they finished the race, Rosberg clinging on by just 0.4s.
A relief for Wolff, though he says he enjoyed the thrilling finish to the race, he admits it wasn't the plan for Hamilton's strategy change to almost influence the outcome of Rosberg's result.
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“At that moment we concentrated on getting Lewis back to third but equally I think that Ricciardo or Red Bull at that stage thought about pitting him. It was their only chance actually of making it, but you are right, we took Lewis out of the game and Raikkonen out of the game and gave them the possibility.”
“When we saw that Lewis had the brakes under control we knew that the undercut was possible and by undercutting Kimi we actually triggered the situation where Daniel had the chance to pit again. We couldn't because we wouldn't have won the race if we had decided to pit [Rosberg] first, so it was a bit of a difficult situation and it proved to be the right one.
“Our statistical tool told us we had seven seconds and within two or three laps he was going two or three seconds faster and then suddenly the algorithm said no gap anymore. That was the moment to decide if we wanted to push now or wait until the end and conserve the tyres, conserve the brakes and fight for it, and this is what we decided.”
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