Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff described the Hungarian Grand Prix as a “crappy day at the office” as his cars failed to make the podium for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2013.
But Rosberg’s contact was a consequence of him taking the slower medium-compound tyre at his second stop – a decision Red Bull’s Christian Horner labeled at the time as “conservative” – whereas Ricciardo opted for the soft, and was much faster as a consequence.
But Wolff argued that it was the timing of the Virtual Safety Car that made up the team’s mind.
“That was an unfortunate situation, because at that time our default tyre was the medium,” said Wolff. “It was 28 laps until end, and that was too much for soft.
“And when the virtual safety car was deployed, when we pitted, that was just the lap where we would have converted the default tyre from the hard [medium] to the soft. But the soft wasn’t ready.”
Starts still a problem
Wolff also admitted that his cars’ starts were poor for the second race in a row, and that the cause was as-yet unknown.
“We don’t know yet, that’s two races in a row now that we’ve been overtaken from the start and everything else came as a consequence,” Wolff added. “There were so many incidents in that race. Just a crappy day in the office.
“They [Ferrari] had the fastest car and the best pace, and could have even had a 1-2, but for Kimi’s problem, and they deserved to win today.”