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Wolff shares Williams' strategy dilemma pain

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Wolff shares Williams' strategy dilemma pain
By:
Jul 7, 2015, 6:36 AM

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he shares rival Williams' pain over its tough strategy calls at the British Grand Prix, having experienced such dilemmas himself a few years ago.

Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 leads team mate Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW37
Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 leads team mate Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW37
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
Felipe Massa, Williams FW37
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW37
Felipe Massa, Williams FW37 leads team mate Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW37 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06

Williams had to defend its decision to let Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas fight for the lead at Silverstone after seeing the pair slip back from running 1-2 early on to finish fourth and fifth.

One option that could have been open to Williams would have been to let one of its drivers build up a lead at the front, while the other was used to slow down the pursuing Mercedes.

Memories of 2013

Wolff says that the scenario Williams found itself in reminded him of times in 2013 – when Mercedes led early on and did not quite know exactly how to react.

"Sometimes I had a little bit of deja vu like in 2013, when you find yourselves in P1 and P2 and you are surprised," explained Wolff. "You don't want to risk the result because you think this is just amazing, so it is very difficult to expect bold calls.

"Valtteri could have built a gap if they had let him go, and that is one thing. Plus when the rain hit them, we split the strategies with Lewis [Hamilton] pitting and leaving Nico [Rosberg] out there.

"But it is easy from the outside to say what people should have done. I am not in there, but they were probably caught on the wrong foot."

Dummy stop pressure

Mercedes admitted that it was further heaping pressure on Williams to make the wrong calls, after electing to make a 'dummy stop' early on to try to force its rivals' hands.

"We know that Williams has more difficulties in making the tyres last at the end, and we knew that triggering an early stop, on lap 18, would make them think, are we able to do that?

"It could trigger them into a pit stop which would have caused them pit stops at the end [of the race], which was a bit of a game.

"But it didn't work. My wife sent me a WhatsApp [message] saying: 'you guys think you can fool us, hah, hah, hah.'"

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Event British GP
Location Silverstone
Teams Mercedes Shop Now , Williams
Author Jonathan Noble