Toto Wolff reckons the lost time in FP2 was crucial eventually in F1 Dutch GP loss, as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen reflect on their races.
While conceding slightly on strategy side, Wolff reckoned Mercedes had the pace to win F1 Dutch GP, even though Red Bull and especially Verstappen showed having enough pace to stay ahead. The Austrian felt the loss of time in FP2 was crucial for Hamilton.
Wolff reckons the track time missed did not allow Hamilton to properly plan the weekend, where they also missed some hard tyre running, which surprised Mercedes when Red Bull put Verstappen on the white tyres, as opposed to the soft they thought he will be on.
“In terms of the strategy, we must say that 50 per cent of the race was probably lost in qualifying,” said Wolff to written media after the race. “At the start, they just had tremendous pace. I think if we would have been ahead – emphasis on would have been – we would have had the pace, too.
“But it was important to take some risks, and we didn’t think that Red Bull would take the hard. It was a bit of uncharted territory. Our thought was to push them into an early second stop with the softs that could have given us a chance at the end. That is why we weren’t particularly bothered with the traffic, where we would come out. They took the hard, they risked a bit and it won them the race,” summed up Wolff.
Adding more on the time loss in FP2, Wolff reckons these lapses are enough to lose a ‘A-championship’. “I think we had the pace to win the race but he was just…scoring the pole position by a tiny bit,” said Wolff. “Lewis losing a lot of track time in FP2, that made a difference. I think if he would have been out there, properly planning the race, we would have fought for pole, or possibly could have pole, obviously, it would have changed the outcome of the race, but could have, would have doesn’t count in this sport.
“There’s nothing between the two teams as we saw Top 3 lapped everyone. We just need to be on our A-game all the time. And with these little lapses, with not being able to complete FP2 in a proper way, as a starting point, and then in the execution of the race itself, we just need to be… it needs the A-game to win the A-championship,” summed up Wolff.
On the drivers side, while Verstappen had the win, he did concede that there was tremendous pressure from Mercedes duo. Having not run the hard tyres as much in practice, the Dutchman reckoned it was not too different from the medium compound.
That strategy move eventually helped him seal the victory as if that gamble didn’t work, there was every chance for Mercedes to pounce. “The whole race it was quite close between myself and Lewis, he was really putting the pressure on,” said Verstappen. “He was putting some great laps together.
“I think also after the final stop, at one point on that medium tyres, and I was on the hard tyre, but luckily it was enough at the end. Seventy-two laps around here, pushing, yeah, it was satisfying. It was cool. As for the move on Valtteri, it was fine. Valtteri’s a very fair racer. He races hard but fair so I always felt good about it.
“Of course, I knew it was critical to get by at one point. Of course we had already pitted and I could really see that Valtteri was really struggling on these tyres that had really low grip, so the first time I had DRS I just couldn’t get by, but the second lap, yeah, I don’t think there was much life left in the tyres, so out of 11-12 was already super close and I actually, I didn’t lose too much through 13 and so I could get by, but everything was OK,” summed up Verstappen.
On Hamilton side – unlike his boss Wolff – the Brit was more applauding Red Bull for having a better pace and overall better job in all the departments. “He just did a better job all around,” he said. “They were definitely faster, there wasn’t really a lot that I could do to answer to the lap-times he was putting in from stint one already.
“It was very, very hard to keep up. And I think Max was just managing from then, whereas I was flat-out, just trying to stay as close as possible. I think today we probably needed everything to be perfect to even have the slightest chance of getting past him through strategy, for example.
“Pit stops needs to be on point, strategy needed to be on point and traffic also – but none of those three were ideal today, and so… but nonetheless, as a team we got a second and third, got some really good points on them in the Constructors’. That’s a super important one, and we’ll come back next week fighting. I think they’ve taken a bit of a step ahead,” summed up Hamilton.
Here’s Max Verstappen overtaking Valtteri Bottas: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2021-dutch-grand-prix-verstappen-overtakes-bottas-to-retake-race-lead.1710070247672621045.html
Here’s Valtteri Bottas and Toto Wolff on fastest lap situation