Toto Wolff stands by his team's decision not to pit Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton under the Safety Car at the British Grand Prix.
Mercedes opted to keep both of its drivers out when the Safety Car was deployed due to Marcus Ericsson's crash at Turn 1. This gave Bottas the lead of the race and track position over Sebastian Vettel, while Hamilton got ahead of Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen.
Bottas was unable to fend off Vettel for the win and later lost positions to Hamilton and Raikkonen as his tyres degraded. Although pitting Bottas would have likely guaranteed both Mercedes drivers finished on the podium, Wolff has defended the call to take track position over the lead Ferrari in a bid to fight Vettel for the win
"First of all I think it was absolutely the right decision to do,'' Wolff said. "There was 15 or 16 laps until the end with mediums that would last. Gaining track position was the interesting one for us and that triggered our decision. I think that both strategies are valid. But doing the opposite was the choice we went for and at the end it brought us a P2 and P4 and I think considering how the race started, we need to accept the result as an acceptable outcome with real damage limitation.''
Bottas managed to close the gap to Vettel to under two seconds before the Safety Car period. Wolff admits it came at the wrong time for Bottas but he's unsure whether he would have been able to have mounted a serious challenge for the victory.
"In hindsight I think the Safety Car went against him,'' Wolff added. ''Sebastian was managing the tyres already again, like on the first set of the softs, you could see he was very fast at the beginning but then the tyre fell away. Maybe we would have had a chance at the end to attack with no Safety Car but its two maybe's. Maybe we would have had the chance and maybe not.''
Mercedes went into the weekend at Silverstone defending its chief strategist James Vowles after the German manufacturer's decision to keep Hamilton out under the Virtual Safety Car period cost him a potential victory at the Austrian Grand Prix. Strategy calls in Australia and China have also impacted Hamilton's charge for the title leaving the four-time champion calling for ''bulletproof strategies'' for the remainder of the campaign.