“Caught Napping”: Former F1 Driver Blasts Mercedes for ‘Hat-Trick’ of Poor Strategies

Published 06/21/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
CIRCUIT DE CATALUNYA, MONTMELO, SPAIN – 2019/05/10: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff in pit lane during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)


It was another terrible weekend for Mercedes, at least according to their standards. As they didn’t win the French Grand Prix, due to the fact that Max Verstappen stole the lead from Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps of the race.

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Adding to their wounds, Valtteri Bottas fell down to fourth after Sergio Perez overtook him as he had fresher tires. Mercedes look to improve on their game plan for a race weekend and hopes to come back stronger.

Hence, a certain F1 analyst feels that the Brackley-based squad have been sleeping. As they haven’t nailed the pit stop strategy like their rivals from Milton-Keynes and it might cost them the 2021 championship.

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Mercedes need to improve their strategy if they want to catch Red Bull

In an episode of the podcast, F1: Chequered Flag, Jennie Gow was having a discussion with Jolyon Palmer about Mercedes’ strategy game. Being asked by Gow about what’s going wrong with the Brackley-based squad this season.

Palmer replied, “No, it was crucial today. Bottas had the chance to put it on Verstappen, but he couldn’t do it. But we know that Mercedes aren’t so good at warming up their tires, particularly when they are switching to a hard tire, and it was the out-lap of Verstappen that caused everyone by surprise that he merged ahead of Lewis in the front.”

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 20, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action at the end of the race REUTERS/Yves Herman

“I didn’t think Mercedes’ strategy has been good in recent races. I think Monaco was very poor, I think Baku was a race ended up being so chaotic with the late restart and Verstappen being out.”

“Hamilton was leading when he pitted and ended up third in the pitstop phase. So whatever way it didn’t go well for them in Baku either and they have been caught napping here in France. So it’s a hat-trick of Red Bull wins and Mercedes’ poor strategies,” he concluded.

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How does this affect the championship for the Silver Arrows?

The Brackley-based squad haven’t capitalized in the previous three races this season. Thus, resulting in dropping crucial points needed in the championship. Their rivals, Red Bull, have extended their lead with thirty-seven points in the constructors and aim to keep the Silver Arrows behind them.

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Hamilton & Co. will be looking for the next race coming up this weekend in Austria. The team knows that they need to nail their game plan for the eighth round of the championship so that they can still hope of lifting the title at the end of the year.

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 19, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Can the Silver Arrows live up to their standards of winning races again at Austria or will they suffer the same fate as France? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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DIVE DEEPER

Mercedes Director Shovlin Blames ‘Annoying’ Strategic Model for Costing Hamilton F1 Victory

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Arpit Gomes

642 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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