[Mercedes would repeat Singapore F1 strategy gamble “every day of the week”
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon breaking down at the pit exit triggered a virtual safety car on lap 44 of 62 at Marina Bay. This created a window for both Mercedes drivers to pit for medium tyres.
This gave them a late-pace advantage in a bid to close and overtake eventual winner Carlos Sainz and runner-up Lando Norris, who were nursing aging hard Pirellis.
But Ferrari racer Sainz was confident to ease off to give Norris DRS to help the McLaren driver defend against the chasing Mercedes before George Russell crashed out on the final lap to hand Lewis Hamilton third.
Despite the team ultimately coming up short, Wolff said he ‘loved the call’ from the strategists and drivers and that the risk to win the race was worth repeating “every day of the week”.
“We tried to win and we didn’t,” said the Austrian. “The positives are that I love the call from driver and strategy team to say, ‘We’re going for it’.
“Worst case was second and fifth. Best case, we win or first and second. And our plan showed that at times.”
He added: “I think it was the absolute right call, we would have finished P2, P5 – maybe P2, P4, and we wanted to win the race.
“So, we took the risk and I would every day of the week do it again.”
George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
The team was steered by pre-race strategy simulations based on possible virtual and full safety car timings.
Wolff reckoned the performance would energise Mercedes since “not everything is wrong” with the W14, a machine that throughout the weekend he referred to as a “surprise box”.
He continued: “Overall, I’m happy about the performance. I’m happy about how the car was all weekend, and I think we gave it our best shot.
“I think this is the positive… we’ve been really strong here, we could have won the race.
“We could have finished first and second on merit and that is what we need to take from here and clearly will energise us even more that, on this particular track, we were strong.
“Not everything is wrong. But then you see on the planner, P1 and P2 popping up at times and you think about ‘Could have been an unbelievable day’ and it’s not.
“But I’d rather then fall back on the positives of this weekend and go back home and say ‘that was a good one’.”