Mercedes’ Team Principal, Toto Wolff, has openly admitted that the team’s approach to bringing the tyres into the optimal working range during the Hungarian Grand Prix was overly cautious.
This conservative strategy had a significant impact on Lewis Hamilton’s race, who could only manage a fourth-place finish despite starting from pole position. Following the initial pit stop, Hamilton lost valuable time compared to the second-placed driver, Lando Norris.
In an attempt to gain an advantage, Hamilton opted for an early pit stop to employ the undercut strategy for the second stint. However, this decision backfired, causing him to lose six seconds of race time by the time Norris also made his pit stop a lap later.
Nevertheless, the Mercedes W14 displayed impressive pace towards the end of each stint, with Hamilton closing in on Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, narrowly missing out on a podium finish as the race reached its climax.
“We were too careful in bringing the tyres in after the stops,” said Wolff, speaking to media including RacingNews365.
“We lost a lot of time – it paid off towards the end of the stint because we were miles quicker than everybody else, but it is always a balance.
“The balance was a little bit too much on bringing them in [slowly].
“To strike that balance right is really difficult because you can see if you hammer them like Lando did, Oscar [Piastri, Norris’ McLaren teammate] did and also Checo did, then at the end you just fall off massively.
“So bringing them in when you can is definitely advantageous, but probably we were too conservative – we lost too much time.”
Despite failing to secure a podium finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes managed to strengthen its position in the battle for second place in the Constructors’ standings. Both Mercedes cars outperformed not only the Ferraris but also the Aston Martins, showcasing the team’s consistent performance.
Notably, George Russell’s impressive performance was a highlight of the race. Starting from the 18th position on the grid, he showcased exceptional driving skills and determination to climb all the way up to sixth place.
Reflecting on the team’s overall performance, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff expressed his conviction that they possessed the second-quickest car on the track. Despite the result not reflecting their true potential, the team’s competitive edge was evident throughout the race.
Mercedes may have missed out on the podium in the Hungarian Grand Prix, but their strong showing against the Ferraris and Aston Martins enabled them to solidify their position in the Constructors’ standings.
“In theory, we had the second-quickest car but we didn’t capitalise on it and that is disappointing and we have got to find out how we can do better.
“We saw George come back from a long way down, beating the Aston Martins, beating the Ferraris, so we just need to analyse.”