Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes it would have been risky to start Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the medium tyres for Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Mercedes initially sent its drivers out on the yellow-marked mediums in Q2 but switched to the softs to ensure it made it progressed into Q3.

As per the FIA regulations, drivers must start on the tyre compound they set their fastest lap time on in Q2 should they progress into Q3 meaning Bottas and Hamilton will be forced to start on the softs.

Hamilton questioned the choice after qualifying, but Wolff said starting on the softs was a "clear decision" for the team given the benefits the softer rubber gives off the start.

“I think we were just in the debrief it was discussed and it is clear the soft is the right tyre to start with and Lewis agreed with that," Wolff said. “Starting on the medium you lose about four metres against the soft and all his competitors around are on soft so it makes no sense to take big risks and a big gamble.

“You could clearly see in Q2 no one would have qualified on the medium so you would have had a real disadvantage for the first few laps and that was a clear decision. Now obviously Lewis doesn’t like to be in P2 or worse so that’s why an alternative strategy makes a lot of sense because accepting to follow a car is not how he operates but the Soft is the right tyre for the race. I think we are not so much in the dark just more of adapting to the new situation, working with less data and accepting tomorrow there will be learning by doing.

“The whole group believes the soft tyre is a good tyre to start with, two stop or one, there is no data from long runs, whether the hard or the medium are the right choices, I find it super exciting."  

Bottas will start the race from pole position, while Hamilton will be looking to win from second on the grid as he looks to equal Michael Schumacher's record win tally of 91.

 

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