Coming straight from the heart of the Formula One action in Singapore, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff voiced no regret over his bold strategy at the Singapore Grand Prix. A daring gamble that saw their driver George Russell suffer a crushing disappointment as he crashed into the barriers on the final lap, thus giving up a potential podium finish.
The confident Mercedes team had their eye set on victory as the race entered its closing stages. High hopes were pinned on both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton who were armed with fresh tyres following an additional pit stop on lap 44. This strategy saw Russell fall from second place to the fourth and Hamilton drop from fourth to fifth in the race positioning as they re-entered the race.
Determined to regain their lead, the duo on fresh tyres chased down the leading cars, making significant headway towards Lando Norris placed second and Carlos Sainz who held the first position as the race headed towards its climax. It seemed Russell was on the verge of overtaking Norris for the second place. Unfortunately, his dream was shattered as he hit the wall on Turn 10 on the final lap and was forced to retire.
Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff was quoted saying “We tried to win, and we didn’t.” He added, “But I’m sad for George, because he delivered a 99.9% fantastic weekend and a split-second lack of concentration clipped the wall and this happened.” This mishap not only dowsed the Mercedes team’s hopes for a victory but was also a blow to Russell’s nearly perfect racing weekend.
Wolff further informed that Russell was driving to the edge in the last lap. Wolff stated that Norris’ vehicle obstructed Russell’s line of sight of the wall which juts out at Turn 10, Norris brushed against this barrier just moments before Russell had a more severe collision. “At that stage, the only way of overtaking Norris and maybe Sainz was to not leave a millimetre on track”, emphasized Wolff.
Ignoring this setback, Hamilton secured the third position for Mercedes. Wolff expressed that this triumphant performance and the evident lead in strength over championship leaders Red Bull were a significant morale boost for the team.
Wolff further opined, “Yeah I think this is the positive that you say we’ve been really strong here, we could have won here, we could have finished first and second here on merit and that will energise us even more.” Despite not delivering the dream performance, Wolff preferred to focus on the positives from this race, calling it a ‘good one’.