Unhappy Wolff feeling absolved by late Mercedes tyre drama
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff was left feeling vindicated for refusing to declare this season's Formula 1 title race already over after witnessing the late drama in the British Grand Prix.
The W11 has so far proven the class act of the field, and with rivals Ferrari and Red Bull struggling this season, it appears a question of when, not if, Mercedes will again win the constructors' and drivers' titles.
But Wolff feels the tyre drama that robbed Valtteri Bottas of second and almost cost Lewis Hamilton victory was proof, if needed, that nothing should be taken for granted.
"We could have easily lost two cars today out of the points, and then the so-called Mercedes dominance would have vanished in a second. We could have had the fastest car at Silverstone but gone home with zero points.
There was still a degree of surprise, however, at seeing the hard-compound tyres fail on three cars - McLaren's Carlos Sainz included - after 38 to 40 laps, as was the case in this race.
"Pirelli is always very diligent and very transparent in pointing out if there will be potential problems, and it was clear from the beginning that with this generation of cars and the amount of downforce at Silverstone, there could be blistering on the tyre," said Wolff. "We saw it also in the junior formulas.
"It is a very difficult job to produce tyres for cars that generate so much downforce, so doing these laps with the hards was not something that was completely unusual so we take the risks.
"I wouldn't want to make any conclusions now as to what the reason of the failures was because there was so much debris out on track, looking at the [Kimi] Raikkonen bits on the track at the end.
"With any tyre, if it is worn down the debris will get through the carcass easier. I think we need to wait for Pirelli's analysis and I am sure they will make the right decisions."
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