The Mercedes Formula 1 team has conceded its decision-making during last weekend’s German Grand Prix was not good enough.

Mercedes suffered its worst result of the 2019 season to date on home soil at Hockenheim, as Valtteri Bottas crashed out and Lewis Hamilton could only take ninth after post-race penalties were applied during a crazy, rain-affected race.

Hamilton crashed at the penultimate corner after switching to slicks with conditions still too wet, which in turn prompted a delayed pit stop for a front wing change, before he had another spin in what was an uncharacteristically error-strewn performance.

Speaking in the German manufacturer’s post-race debrief video, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin revealed how the team was caught out by unpredictable conditions.

“If you look at it in a strategy-sense, no-one actually did the right strategy,” Shovlin said.

“The right strategy would have been to go from the extreme [wet] at the start to the inter, to take a new inter at the Safety Car, and then to do what Stroll did at the end, where he’s coming in and fitting a fresh Soft tyre while the Safety Car is still out, and being the first car on dry and then racing that to the finish.

“So, the fact that no one made all the right decisions shows how difficult it was. But certainly we’re looking at the decisions that we made, because we know that they weren’t good enough, and that’s why we ended up with such a bad result.”

Shovlin also explained the thinking behind the call to switch Hamilton onto slick tyres and why chaos ensued during the Briton’s pit stop following his off.

“The conversation we were having with him was actually about the Medium, we thought it was going to get drier, that was what we were reading into the weather forecast and the Medium was the only tyre we were comfortable with taking to the end,” he said.

“Lewis was actually saying that tyre is too hard, and that was why we put him on the Soft tyre. We know now that we should have been having the conversation about going to the intermediate tyre, but at the time what we were discussing with Lewis was just Medium or Soft.

“There was a lot of chaos when Lewis came in, but we were ready in the pits for Valtteri,” he added. “He decided to stay out at the same time Lewis went off, hit the wall and broke the front wing and he came in.

“We could see that he was coming in but it takes the guys a little while to get the different tyres out but also we had the broken nose and we can’t lift the car on that to do the normal change on the jack, so we had to get different kit out to do that.

“It looked messy, there was a change of driver on the tyre call, we also changed the tyre spec from a Soft to an Intermediate tyre and getting the communication through to the guys when everything is so chaotic is very difficult.

“We’re aware it wasn’t pretty but the guys in the pits actually did a really good job reacting to that and we at least got the right tyres on the right car.

“Those situations are very difficult, they are not rehearsed but it does show us where we need to be stronger in future.”

 

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