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Mercedes reveal how Latifi influenced strategy error
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Mercedes reveal how Latifi influenced strategy error

Mercedes reveal how Latifi influenced strategy error

Mercedes reveal how Latifi influenced strategy error

Mercedes reveal how Latifi influenced strategy error

Mercedes strategy director James Vowles has revealed data from Williams driver Nicholas Latifi influenced the decision to pit Lewis Hamilton for hard tyres at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Hamilton looked to be in contention for victory after starting on the alternate medium tyres and kept pace with soft-tyre running Max Verstappen in the opening stint.

But much to everyone's surprise, Hamilton swapped mediums for hards just four laps later than Verstappen changed from the softs to mediums, which left the Briton struggling for pace compared to the Red Bull driver.

Addressing the strategy decisions in Mexico, Vowles explained: "With Lewis, he was in a position where [Sergio] Perez had stopped and we only had a lap to cover him really, a lap or two.

"We had two choices, let Perez undercut us but go long and then fit the soft tyres, or stop and given the length of the stint, the hard really would be the only tyre that would have made it. The soft would not have made that level of stint.

"We decided that track position was more important at that stage and furthermore, we had data from Latfii who had already stopped and the hard wasn't terrible.

"So we opted to stop, put Lewis onto the hard tyre and go towards the end of the race under the hope Verstappen was going to drop off the medium curve, much as we started to see degradation at the end of our stint."

Russell hard switch "wrong decision"

Russell also started on the mediums but Mercedes opted against splitting strategies during the pit stop window.

"With George, there was more opportunity for him to keep going long and that was our plan," added Vowles.

"It was what we discussed before the race and what we discussed live during the race with George as well.

"We carried on with the stint and what we could see relative to Perez and Lewis, was George was starting to lose a lot of time, [with] that medium struggling towards the end of the degradation stint.

"The question now was, given that we were struggling on a medium tyre after just 30-odd laps, would the soft tyre really make the stint required?

"It was a hard choice but we decided on balance that stopping and putting on the hard tyre would bring us a better result in the belief that if we are struggling on the medium tyre, Perez probably won't make it to the end of the race and will stop one more time.

"That, in hindsight, was the wrong decision."

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