Mercedes Details Decision to Employ Split Strategies in F1 Canadian GP

Mercedes has revealed that the team’s two strategy splits during the Canadian Grand Prix were caused by worries over graining and the tires that were available.

George Russell was in the running for the victory from pole position in an exciting mixed conditions race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve thanks to the German team’s newfound momentum.

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After the track had dried, Mercedes decided to switch Russell to the Hard compound tyre, while Lewis Hamilton, who was following, was put on the Medium.

James Allison, the technical director of Mercedes, explained how the periodic showers during practice limited dry running, which resulted in a blurry image.

However, Allison discloses how Mercedes believed that Russell would have the best chance of winning on the most resilient rubber as graining becomes a noticeable problem in Montreal.

In the team’s Canadian Grand Prix evaluation film, Allison stated, “We chose different tyres for the two different drivers because it was not clear.”

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It most definitely wasn’t. These things are not evident at the outset, but they become evident later.

Nearly every person in pit lane grained a tire when we ran on Friday, the Friday when the grid ran on the Medium tires.

“Once the tire grits, it becomes a complete sitting duck and rapidly loses performance.

“The Hard tire exhibits greater resistance to wear, albeit at a somewhat slower pace. In order to protect George from the graining, we fitted him with the Hard tire.

When the weather turned from rainy to dry, there was still a significant portion of the race still to complete. Everyone around him was wearing Mediums when we fitted him with the Hard.

If they had rained, he could have easily defeated them by romping through them.

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And if that may sound fantastical, consider what transpired with Piastri. His car was reversing at an extremely fast speed. He had grainy tires.

It was almost at the point of either graining or not. Since George had the best chance of winning, we fitted him with the Hard.

“And then we fitted Lewis with the Medium, just to kind of spread our bets.”

Mercedes’ strategy would be foiled by a second Safety Car on Lap 54, but the side seized the opportunity to shift both cars to new, slick tires for the last few laps.

When Hamilton switched to the Hards, Russell would go to the Mediums, and it proved to be crucial as the former passed his teammate to take the final podium spot.

Allison has pointed out that Hamilton was disadvantaged compared to Russell during the last stint because of the respective allocations that the two still held.

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Allison admitted, “We did not put Lewis on the Hard tyre when the track gradually dried up and went to wet.” He was fitted with a Medium tire.

We gave him the car on the track using the tire that turned out to be the faster tyre after we depleted his last fresh pair of Mediums.

Lewis was moved from the Medium to the Hard tyres later in the race when we stopped behind the Safety Car to change his tires.

As Lewis had a totally free stop, that choice was the right one. Nobody was approaching him from behind.

“He would be able to catch up to whoever was ahead of him and follow the safety car, but he would be on new rubber because there was a safety car.”

With the exception of his teammate, those in front of him would be running on used tires, thus it’s not in doubt that a brand-new Hard would be faster than a Medium that has been running for 12 or 13 laps.

Even though he would have wanted to have a new Medium, none existed. That was not a possibility.

“We only had one new tire, a Hard, and it was going to be faster than anything else on the circuit.

That’s the reason he finished on the Hard, where he was unquestionably faster than Red Bull and McLaren.