Mattia Binotto highlights Mercedes blunder in defence of Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton was unable to fight for a win in Mexico after struggling on the hard tyres.

Lewis Hamilton’s eyes must have lit up at the start of Sunday’s race, as he got past his teammate George Russell in the opening couple of corners, allowing him to hunt down Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull’s started on the soft and then went on to the mediums, whilst the Mercedes committed to a medium-hard strategy, hoping that Red Bull would have to make an extra stop or that tyre degradation on the softer compounds would allow the Silver Arrows to catch up.

This was not the case however as tyre degradation was not as prominent as initially thought, with Red Bull completing a soft-medium one stop without ever really falling off the curve in terms of pace later on in the race, seeing Verstappen win by around 15 seconds.

Hamilton questioned the decision at the time, asking his race engineer over the team radio if they were sure that they were on the right tyres, as the Brit struggled to fire up the hards and find the pace he wanted.

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“I was so close in that first stint, but I think the Red Bulls were just clearly too fast today and ultimately they had the better tyre strategy,” he said after the race.

“I’m not sure it was the right tyre at the end. I thought we should have started on a soft, but obviously we had the opposite tyre.”

Mattia Binotto has now weighed in on the strategy call, using it as an opportunity to defend his team.

Ferrari have been heavily scrutinised for their decision making this year, with multiple poor strategy calls costing their drivers in numerous races, arguably taking Charles Leclerc out of contention for the title.

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The team put their drivers on to the hard tyre in Hungary, despite drivers that were already on the hards complaining about how slow the compound was proving to be, which was backed up by the data that the Scuderia would have been able to see.

The Ferrari drivers obviously then struggled, questioning their teams decision making with it being clear the hard tyres were a bad race tyre.

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“In Hungary, we have been criticised and it’s normally when we are doing things which are not completely right, we are criticised.

“Mercedes maybe have lost the race as well by not choosing the right tyres in Austin. So I think it’s not only down to us somehow to make different choices or making mistakes.”

Leclerc has said that he has noticed an improvement in communication and decision making from his team in recent weeks, which will come as reassurance to the fans who have been left disappointed at times this season.