Mercedes have explained the decision to fit medium tyres to Lewis Hamilton during the Monaco Grand Prix, and then opt not to pit him as they began to fall apart. Hamilton clung on through intense pressure from Max Verstappen to take a fraught victory in Monte Carlo.
Hamilton sent several tetchy messages over team radio as he had to eke 67 laps' worth of life from medium tyres that Pirelli had expected to run for 50 laps.
Hamilton said post-race that he had no intention of pitting, and strategy director James Vowles said it was also off the cards from the team's perspective.
"The reality in Monaco is you won't overtake," Vowles said in Mercedes' post-race debrief.
"So even though we had the hard tyres ready in the pit lane to fit to the car, if we'd had to have a pit stop at any point we would've just been fourth out of the four cars in that train.
"You can't overtake. You saw that with Max Verstappen trying really aggressively against Lewis."
Explaining why the Silver Arrows fitted medium tyres in the first place, Vowles continued: "On long runs on medium [in FP2], we were able to see that their life would just about make what we needed in the race to achieve the stints.
"In Monaco you typically want the softest rubber you can get away with for the stint length you're trying to get to.
"We knew it would be tight, we knew it would need a lot of management, but believed – based on the Thursday data – that the medium tyre would do the job.
"The second reason we fitted the medium tyre was there was a chance of rain in the race.
"If you could see our weather radar, you would have seen a sea of blue come in from the east towards the circuit.
"Now it actually broke up. There was a little bit of light rain during the race, we forecasted it would be slightly heavier rain that that; not enough to go to [intermediates] but enough to be very difficult on dry tyres.
"The medium may well have provided slightly more coverage on those conditions being a slightly softer compound, and that's why we erred towards that slightly softer medium compound."
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