Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says the team opted to double-stack its drivers during the Chinese Grand Prix as it did not want to “interfere” with the race order.
With Lewis Hamilton comfortably leading F1’s 1000th world championship event from teammate Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes opted to call both of its drivers into the pitlane on Lap 37 of the race as the team switched on to a two-stop strategy after Red Bull had triggered a second round of stops a few laps before.
Wolff said the decision to double-stack was taken in order to cover off the threat of Bottas potentially being undercut by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had recently pitted and was lighting up the timesheets on a fresh set of Medium tyres.
Speaking later in a separate media session, Wolff added: “It was an interesting situation because it was clear that Valtteri in that situation was under pressure from Sebastian.
Wolff added the team was unsure whether a one-stop or two-stop strategy was the right way to go, but said Red Bull’s decision to stop Max Verstappen ultimately set off the chain reaction among the leading three teams.