Mercedes ready to take strategy risks with Hamilton in Monaco GP

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes the team is willing to take risks with Lewis Hamilton’s strategy in Monaco after he only qualified seventh on Saturday.

Mercedes ready to take strategy risks with Hamilton in Monaco GP
Listen to this article

Hamilton slumped to his worst qualifying performance in almost three years as he struggled to get his tyres in the right temperature window, leaving him low on grip.

The seven-time world champion finished three-quarters of a second off pole-sitter Charles Leclerc’s time, and said after qualifying that his hopes of winning in Monaco were over.

The lack of overtaking opportunities left Hamilton braced for a difficult race, but it could prompt some creativity from the Mercedes pit wall.

Wolff said that while seventh was not a low enough result to prompt any risks on-track from Hamilton, given the close title fight against Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, it could allow for some risky strategies to play out.

“Driving-wise, no, because P7 still scores six points,” Wolff said when asked what risks Mercedes could afford to take with Hamilton.

“But six points, you'd rather have six points than none. If Max wins the race or finishes second, that's still a large enough gap.

“So driving-wise no, but I think in terms of strategy, we can take risks. They are obviously limited, due to the reasons stated before, with traffic behind. But I think we have a car that is quicker than P7.”

Read Also:

Mercedes failed to qualify with a car on the front row for the first time this season after Valtteri Bottas could only finish third, trailing Verstappen in P2.

Wolff said that finishing third and seventh would be a result that Mercedes would have to “take on the chin” and learn lessons from its qualifying struggles.

“If we can finish in better positions, then I would very much hope so,” Wolff said.

“Monaco obviously isn’t the place where you have lots of overtaking opportunities.”

Mercedes has struggled through the early part of the season with tyre warm-up on the W12 car, with the issue being exacerbated for Hamilton on Saturday in qualifying.

It left the three-time Monaco winner braced for a race of damage limitation, with his 14-point lead in the drivers’ championship under threat.

“We definitely struggle [with tyre warm-up], and I think this is magnified here being that is obviously a low energy circuit,” Hamilton said.

“There are not really any high-speed areas, and then today, it was much, much cooler. So it's sort of get worse over the day or so. I’m not really sure how Valtteri is able to get his tyres working.

“I saw a glimpse of grip on that last lap, but it's really short lived, so there'll be a lot of analysis.

“Of course P7 isn't a great place to start here, but I will have to do the best I can to help the damage limitation tomorrow, and try and see if there's a way to move forward somehow.”

shares
comments

Related video

IndyCar red flag rules would be "intelligent" for F1 - Wolff
Previous article

IndyCar red flag rules would be "intelligent" for F1 - Wolff

Next article

The Monaco Grand Prix as it happened

The Monaco Grand Prix as it happened
Load comments
The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight Prime

The underdog F1 squad that thrust Senna into the limelight

The Toleman TG184 was the car that could, according to legend, have given Ayrton Senna his first F1 win but for Alain Prost and Jacky Ickx at Monaco in 1984. That could be stretching the boundaries of the truth a little, but as STUART CODLING explains, the team's greatest legacy was in giving the Brazilian prodigy passed over by bigger outfits an opportunity

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes Prime

Why Aston Martin is unlikely to repeat Jaguar’s F1 mistakes

Two famous manufacturer teams born out of humble midfield origins, splashing the cash while attempting to rise to the top of F1 in record time. There are clear parallels between Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin and the doomed Jaguar Racing project of 22 years ago, but Mark Gallagher believes struggling Aston can avoid a similar fate.

Formula 1
May 15, 2022
How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo Prime

How rejuvenated Haas recovered its F1 mojo

US-owned but until recently Russian-backed, Haas seems to have reached a turning point in car performance after three gruesome seasons. And it needs to if it’s to attract fresh investment. Team boss Gunther Steiner tells Oleg Karpov how close Haas came to the abyss.

Formula 1
May 14, 2022
How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket Prime

How F1 race leaders have now lost their comfort blanket

As Formula 1 teams have settled down in understanding the new generation of cars and the way they need to maximise their performance, fresh lessons have emerged. Jonathan Noble investigates how they have brought with them an all-new kind of grand prix racing

Formula 1
May 12, 2022
Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives Prime

Gilles Villeneuve's 10 greatest F1 drives

Formula 1 lost one of its brightest stars when Gilles Villeneuve was killed during practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Forty years on, Motorsport.com picks out the greatest drives by a Ferrari legend

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat Prime

The silver lining of Ferrari’s Miami GP defeat

OPINION: Much was made of Formula 1’s first Miami Grand Prix – what turned out to be a very ‘marmite’ event for both those in attendance and everyone following on TV. But even as the on-track battle between Red Bull and Ferrari it produced continued the negative run of results for the red team, it contained a glimmer it must hope continues to shine

Formula 1
May 11, 2022
How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge Prime

How imperfect Miami offered F1's drivers a unique challenge

OPINION: Despite all of the stylistic embellishments festooning Formula 1's inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the Miami International Autodrome offered the drivers a unique challenge and punished driver errors; a stark contrast to the usual cast of modern-day circuits

Formula 1
May 10, 2022
Why F1’s turbulent relationship with Russia is nothing new Prime

Why F1’s turbulent relationship with Russia is nothing new

Russia’s involvement in Formula 1 has been big on promise but short on delivery – then reached the end of the road prematurely. MARK GALLAGHER investigates why

Formula 1
May 10, 2022