Toto Wolff says it didn’t take much to convince George Russell to do a late stop n F1 Imola GP, as Lewis Hamilton adds on his race.

It was mostly an uneventful F1 Imola GP for the Mercedes pair who stayed out of the fight between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, in their own lonely zone. Even though they had Red Bull’s Sergio Perez to fend, but the Mexican was not in any position to challenge.

It left Russell ahead in sixth with Hamilton in seventh but that changed when Mercedes asked the former to pit in a precautionary call since he pitted before and there was a risk of losing out to Perez in the long run, especially with higher degradation.

Russell resisted initially but eventually came around and even secured an extra point for the fastest lap. “As a driver, you want to finish in the highest position possible, and all weekend I’ve been ahead of my teammate,” he said to media. “I was ahead the whole race, comfortably. Then I sort of lose the position for the sake of it.

“We got the extra point. As I said, I’m not going to talk about. It’s P6, it’s not for a podium or a victory. No, I think we were trying to put a bit of pressure on Sainz. Ultimately, I think we pitted a bit too early, compromised the race slightly on my side of the garage. But as a team, we came away with the extra point for the fastest lap.”

Mercedes’ Wolff noted that it wasn’t as difficult to request Russell into doing it. “Not difficult,” he said. “I think taking the point for the fastest lap was a little goodie. The laptimes were dropping off because we pitted him early and there was the risk to lose the position a few laps later to Perez.

“Beating one of the Red Bulls in these circumstances was advantageous and the wear life at that moment, on lap 57, the tyres were gone, melted, so that’s why we made the call,” summed up Wolff, as Hamilton was pleased to have finished sixth in a lonely but ‘eventful’ race for him. It included a brief moment of gravel trip too.

“Not really, it was eventful race,” said Hamilton. “For the off, I think I probably [lost] about five seconds and that meant that I came out behind Fernando, and lost another bunch of seconds there. Probably, all in all, eight seconds so not ideal. It didn’t lose me any positions.”

In terms of the updates, Hamilton reckoned it was very small steps that they made and as things stand, they are three tenths slower in race pace compared to their rivals, while they are half a second down in qualifying trim.

“No big difference, the updates had small steps, but very, very small,” said Hamilton. “I think my pace in the second stint was comparable to the guys towards the front, but I think we are still lacking two-or-three-tenths in race pace. George was five-tenths off yesterday and in the race, probably three-or-four-tenths. That’s not in the wind tunnel at the moment, development-wise.”

Here’s how F1 Imola GP panned out

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