Wolff: Hamilton podium possible with earlier 'conservative' pit stop

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Toto Wolff believes in hindsight that Lewis Hamilton could have been in the running for a spot on the podium in Turkey had the Mercedes pitwall opted for a more conservative strategy and brought the Briton in earlier than it did.

The Brackley squad's strategists made a first call to bring Hamilton in as the race entered its final ten laps, but the seven-time world, who was running in third position at that point, rebutted the request.

However, with eight laps to go, Hamilton eventually accepted to box for a fresh set of intermediate tyres, but the late stop led to the Mercedes driver losing two positions to Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc, a setback that frustrated the Briton.

Wolff explained the rationale behind the team's decision to call in Hamilton after it had weighed its options.

"The intermediate looked obviously scary, but we thought we could maybe hang out there and finish third with not stopping, or if a dry line appeared maybe even go on to a soft tyre until the end," said Wolff.

"We balanced between pitting, taking it very conservative, fighting with Leclerc and Perez on the track for P3, or taking a little bit of a gamble and either winning or finishing third.

"And then we saw Leclerc dropping off, and Lewis started dropping off and it was clear we wouldn't make it to the end."


Wolff believes Hamilton wasn't fully aware of his drop off in pace in the closing stages of the race as his tyre wear grew worse.

But losing track position to Perez and Leclerc after his late stop was an understandable source of frustration for the Mercedes driver reckoned the Austrian.

"In the car he didn't see how much he was dropping off in lap time, and also he didn't see Leclerc dropping off," Wolff added.

"It was clear if he would have stayed out he would have lost against Gasly in any case.

"It's always frustrating that you see the other cars that haven't actually passed out on track in front of you."

Wolff reiterated his view that in hindsight, an earlier pitstop could have potentially set up Hamilton for a top-three finish.

"The correct call would have probably been taking it very conservative and pitting when everybody pitted for the intermediate, coming out behind Perez, probably behind Leclerc and then fighting with them on track for P3," he said.

"But that's only in hindsight after the race."

Otherwise, Wolff was full of praise for the flawless performance that delivered to Valtteri Bottas his first win since the 2020 Russian Grand Prix.

"An absolute dominant drive from him today from the get go," said Wolff. "he had it absolutely under control, not only the pace but also how he managed the tyres, so this was a ten out of ten for me!"

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