Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff admits that the team could have run a different strategy in Singapore – but insists that he has no regrets about that were made.
Both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton stayed out under the safety car and made a late pit stop under green flag conditions, giving them fresh tyres and thus pace at the end of the race. They finished fourth and fifth.
“In retrospect it’s always easy to say we should have done this,” Wolff said when asked by this writer. “At that stage yes pitting Lewis behind Fernando, seeing that Fernando pits, would have been the right thing, but it also meant not beating Fernando on the strategy, and at that stage it was 35 laps to go, and we didn’t feel that we could do that.
“We didn’t feel that anybody else could do it. I feel that it was a bit of a gamble of the others. Kimi came from so far back that they needed to do it, and I think Stefano [Domenicali] said that they needed to take that gamble, and this time it worked out.”
Wolff admitted that the extended safety car period played into the hands of those who stopped: “It didn’t help us. But it was still a lot of laps. And you could see, I think it was just such a fine line between doing the right call, because if the race had gone three laps more everything could have changed. But then again the fact of being so much in traffic… As I said afterwards it’s easy to be the smart arse. But lots of people had to gamble, the McLarens had to gamble, the Saubers had to gamble and passing all those guys is tricky. Lots of lessons to be learned.”
Meanwhile Wolff was mightily impressed by Red Bull’s form in Singapore.
“The only thing today that you can probably say with guarantee is we have a deserved winner, the performance was absolutely stunning. They have made a major step over the summer, and hearing the comments of the drivers their car is just able to make the tyres work in a proper way.”