Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff revealed after Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix that Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of a strong result were “diminished” before the race even started, due to other teams having copied the Briton’s strategy.
After qualifying 13th at the Miami International Autodrome, Mercedes opted to start Hamilton on the hardest compound of tyre, in an attempt to run deep into the race.
The plan was for Hamilton to then switch to the Medium compound in the closing stages, whilst those around him had old rubber.
Mercedes’ strategy unfortunately failed to work as planned, with several other drivers having started the race on the Hard compound.
Amongst those who started on the Hard compound were several drivers on the Mediums, resulting in an early DRS train.
Hamilton was eventually able to make some progress once the drivers on the Medium compound made their pit-stop; however, the 38-year-old still had to try and find a way past those who were on the same strategy as him.
With Mercedes’ poor straight-line speed, this was exceptionally challenging for Hamilton; however, he was able to make good ground towards the end of the race.
Thankfully, he was able to overtake Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc in the closing laps after pitting for a fresh set of Medium tyres, promoting him into sixth.
Given that he started P13, sixth was an excellent result for Hamilton, with Wolff having noted that the veteran delivered a “superb race”.
“From P13, it’s pretty difficult if you start on the same strategy than everybody else to pass and therefore [we took] the Hard [with Lewis],” Wolff explained to Sky Sports F1.
“Then we saw others had thought the same and it was difficult considering the strategy hope that nobody would start on the Hards, so it was a bit diminished, but then at the end, he drove a superb race and got them in the end.
“Two years ago, a fourth and sixth, I don’t think we would have been delighted as we are today, but we just have a difficult car, and qualifying was difficult but fourth and six was solid as the car was good today.”