Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison has revealed Lewis Hamilton would have finished "seventh or eighth" had he attempted a no-stop strategy at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton fought his way into the top five from 11th on the grid following an ICE change, but whilst his competitors pitted with around 20 laps remaining, the Britton continued on in the hope of the track drying sufficiently for a switch to slicks.
With it becoming apparent this would not happen, the team instead aimed for a no-stop strategy on balding slicks in the hope Hamilton could hold onto third.
The seven-time champion eventually gave up his podium chances with a stop just eight laps from the end for a new set of intermediate tyres, ensuring a fifth-place finish to drop only six points behind Max Verstappen in the race for the championship.
Asked what the perfect strategy was at Istanbul Park, Allison said: "As ever with strategy, at the end of the race it is always obvious to know what would have been the perfect lap because at the end of the race, we had poor visibility of what would have happened.
"However, if we look at it overall, the best lap time to have stopped would have been the 36, 37 mark, that was when Valtteri and Verstappen stopped and had Lewis done the same and then treated his tyres nice and gently, then in all likelihood he would have come in a strong fourth and maybe been able to pressurise Perez for third and perhaps overtake him. That would have been optimum.
"We didn't do that, we stayed out for longer than that hoping the track would go dry, hoping for a little while that the tyres would last, that we would hang on and we would get the easiest third place on offer at the time, simply by inheriting it by those who did do a pit stop.
"By the time we realised we should have made that stop then and were having to cut our losses, it was around about lap 41 and that too, would have been ok and been a fourth-place type of stop.
With the simulations pointing to a dramatic loss of pace, Mercedes were left with no option other than to make a late pit stop and Allison explained: "In the end, we pushed on a bit longer than that, another nine laps, with the tyres degrading all the while and when we did eventually call Lewis in, it was because the lap time chart we use to make our predictions was telling us it was not looking good for hanging on until the end of the race.
"We were looking at something that was in the region of seventh or eighth place based on the way in which the tyres were progressively degrading."
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