Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and Valtteri Bottas fifth in the Singapore Grand Prix
The Mercedes F1 team is leaving a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend without a trophy for just the second time in 2019 after being outclassed by Ferrari when it really counted Sunday as Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton finished fourth and Valtteri Bottas fifth in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Entering the weekend of the Singapore Grand Prix nobody predicted that Ferrari would be in the hunt for pole or the race win. After Charles Leclerc took a surprise pole on Saturday, it was still widely thought that Mercedes would pull through and take the win for themselves. To come home without a even a podium finish was unthinkable, but team boss Toto Wolff put a brave face on when facing the media, talking about how they should have utilized the undercut in a similar way to Ferrari rather than going down a very different path of pit strategy.
“We discussed it, the undercut, but there was a risk in being caught up in traffic, and then (Sebastian) Vettel’s team did it right,” said Wolff. “They had nothing to lose and I think everybody was surprised by how strong the undercut was.”
Asked why the team left the drivers out rather than pitting the next lap when Leclerc pitted from the lead, Wolff added, “At that moment, we had already lost the position to Sebastian (race winner Sebastian Vettel). You lose the win and we tried to do the offset and go a bit longer. Lewis was saying the tire was in good shape and we knew they (the Ferraris) would eventually catch up onto the traffic.
“Lots of assumptions and all was different. Our tires just wore off. It wasn’t competitive at all anymore, and this is why we ended up nowhere.”
Ferrari has now won the last three races – every Grand Prix since the summer break and since Mercedes introduced their final power unit upgrade of the year – and Wolff confessed, such is the form of Ferrari, he is now concerned about the remaining races.
“Yes, you’ve got to be worried and on your toes the whole time,” said Wolff. “They’ve won the last three races and we cannot rest on our laurels from the beginning of the season and on a solid points gap because they can catch up.”
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