Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has dismissed Valtteri Bottas criticism of the team’s strategy in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix but says he understands why his driver is unhappy. 

Lewis Hamilton was able to get ahead of polesitter Bottas to claim second place late on in Sunday’s second race at Silverstone after the world championship leader ran longer in the middle stint. 

Bottas was given priority as the leading W11 and made his second stop on Lap 32, while Hamilton went all the way to Lap 41 before getting rid of his set of Hards, meaning he had fresher tyres for the final stint and was able to hunt down and pass his teammate. 

Bottas was left disgruntled by the decision and said that his team was “sleeping” at times during the race, an assessment Wolff - who discussed the strategy with his driver after the race - did not accept. 

"I don't think we were sleeping, but I accept his perspective,” Wolff said. “I think we just had the slower car today, and we just admit that.

"His point was should we have done the opposite to Max. As a matter of fact, this wouldn't have changed anything, because Max would have come out with a fresh tyre, and we would have continued with a tyre that wasn't in the best state any more, and he just pitted in front of us. So not sure what we could have done better.

"Obviously he's not in a happy place that he was P2 and Lewis was P3, but it was the learning that happened on-track when we got Valtteri's tyre in, we saw there was actually a lot of rubber left, and we extended Lewis's stint, albeit that there were big vibrations but a lot of rubber.

"Therefore, he was getting quicker and quicker, the more the rubber went down, and that is why we could extend the stint, and eventually Lewis overtook Valtteri. It's clear he's not happy, and I totally respect that. None of us are happy with the result.”

Wolff stressed there was not one single factor that led to Mercedes struggles with its tyres compared to Red Bull. 

"I think we had indications in the past that our relative gap was not as large to our competitors when it was hot," he explained. "It's a little bit simplistic to just say it's hotter.

"It comes down to the fact that we have a car with high downforce, and obviously when conditions change, parameters change, like temperatures going up, compounds getting softer, pressures going up, we have to acknowledge that the Red Bull is a pretty fast car, and that's what we have seen today.

"We have these days in the past, and came out stronger, and I'm really looking forward to Barcelona. We have a handful of days to assess, come up with solutions, test them on the Friday in Barcelona, and then hopefully have a better race on Sunday. These days where we lose are the days where we learn the most."

 

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