On Sunday, Max Verstappen triumphed running at home in Netherlands GP. But for that, he needed to win an arm wrestling with the Mercedes and the shutdown strategy designed for Lewis Hamilton. And to the sporting director of Formula 1, Ross Brawn, the German team lacked the risk, making a third tire change to have a better chance of fighting for the victory.
In search of ways to beat Verstappen, Mercedes split Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, to induce red bull to error. While the Finn would initially make only one stop, the seven-times champion would go for two, but eventually both made an extra at the end, to confirm the extra point of the fastest lap.
But Ross Brawn believes that Mercedes lacked the risk, as Hamilton was not so far behind the Dutchman in several moments of the race.
In his traditional post-GP column, published on the official F1 website, the current sporting director of the category, who was once head of Mercedes, analyzed the strategy of the German team, saying he was surprised that they didn’t dare.
“While Max seemed to be in control of the situation, at times it felt like Lewis was approaching. And for me there was a window, with 20 laps to go, when Mercedes could have risked a third stop by putting on soft tires.”
“That would have warmed up the race. I’m not sure who would have ended up winning if that had happened, but those 20 laps with softs would have been much faster than Max with the hard worn tires.”
“I was surprised to see that they didn’t try that, because overtaking at this track was challenging, and they had nothing to lose. this in a turn with the soft ones”.
And despite criticism of Mercedes’ strategy, Brawn tore up praise for Verstappen for the weekend in Zandvoort.
“Max is a very relaxed character, even with the pressure of a title fight. We all saw him in the beginning, when he was young and learning. Making mistakes is making mistakes. Now he’s complete.”
“He had a flawless weekend, and I can’t think of anything he’s done wrong. Having the level of support he saw in Zandvoort, with the tension and focus on him can be distracting, but he handled it magnificently . It was a brilliant performance, and he deservedly reassumed the championship lead.”
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Podcast #129 – Raikkonen’s retirement and all about the Dutch GP
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