Bottas asked for soft tyres, Mercedes refused – Why?

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Valtteri Bottas asked Mercedes to put him on soft tyres for his final stint at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Toto Wolff explains why the team refused to indulge him.

Valtteri Bottas was behind Lewis Hamilton by about 9 seconds when the Briton was pitted to take on hard tyres on lap 40. When the team informed Bottas that Hamilton was taking hards, the Finn asked to be fitted with soft tyres. However the team decided not to listen and put him on hards too. In the end he finished the race 25 seconds behind the Briton.

Toto Wolff explains why the team didn’t want to put their drivers on different strategies.

“We have done it on occasions, but it’s always a tricky situation,” said the Austrian.

“If you ask the lead driver to put the hards on because you believe this is the right choice, and then the second driver starts to convince you about the other thing, it’s very difficult to explain that you’ve basically reversed the cars.

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“We don’t want to interfere too much, and there will be situations where we are going to allow these calls.

“We were pretty convinced that the hard was the better tyre. All data that we’ve seen from cars out there lended towards the hard outperforming the medium and the soft.

“When you look at Checo [Perez] and Esteban [Ocon] at the end, the soft didn’t function at all. It was actually the weakest tyre at the end of the race.

“We were pretty robust in our decision, because we expected it to be the better tyre,” concluded Wolff.

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