Mercedes told that tyre strategy is the least of their worrying troubles

“Failed. Too optimistic," was the verdict on Mercedes' strategy but they have a bigger problem to fix...

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Mercedes’ strategy at Suzuka came under scrutiny but they have been reminded that they must face even bigger problems.

Mercedes’ decision to equip Lewis Hamilton and George Russell with hard tyres at the restart after a red flag at the F1 Japanese Grand Prix failed to yield results.

Hamilton finished ninth, Russell seventh, behind a Red Bull 1-2 and both Ferraris among others.

Red Bull and Ferrari opted for a different strategy to Mercedes.

Hamilton questioned the strategy via team radio during the race before later insisting his team couldn’t have done anything differently.

But Mark Webber has reminded them that tyre strategy is the least of their concerns.

“They rolled the dice,” Webber said to Channel 4 after the Japanese Grand Prix.

“They restarted on the hards. They were looking at making a one-stop work.

“Failed. Too optimistic.

“Then, track position. They had to come back through.

“Then both of them put the mediums on, at the end. So they converted to a [two-stop] there.

“They tried, and they went all-in with both cars too, off the line with that hard tyre.

“They haven’t got the speed at the moment. They just haven’t got the speed.

“You can do whatever strategy you want. But if you haven’t got a quick car? Good luck.”

The W15 gave Hamilton a rare good feeling at the start of the weekend in Japan yet Mercedes are still no closer to significantly challenging the Red Bulls.

Hamilton insisted he wouldn’t have fought gained anything with an alternate tyre strategy.

“Nothing, I don’t think,” he said. “I don’t know what the different strategy would have been.

“Whether it was the mediums to start with? But we still had two terrible hard tyres to run through. It was a real challenge.”

Red Bull’s Christian Horner insisted that tyre strategy was not crucial in Japan.

“I don’t think there was much in it,” he said.

“The track was warmer today, that brought the cars into a different operating window.

“The circuit just gets faster and faster throughout the race.”

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