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F1 | US GP | Wolff rues a poor first stint on mediums, as Hamilton is narrowly defeated in Austin

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that a sluggish first stint on the medium tyres and an aggressive Red Bull strategy cost the Brackley-based team and Lewis Hamilton victory in yesterday’s United States Grand Prix.

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F1 | US GP | Wolff rues a poor first stint on mediums, as Hamilton is narrowly defeated in Austin
Fuente imagen: @MercedesAMGF1

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes that a poor first stint on the medium tyres and a clever Red Bull strategy were the leading causes behind Lewis Hamilton losing victory in Austin, as the championship race took another turn against Mercedes.

In a race that was dominated by strategy, Hamilton narrowly lost the United States Grand Prix, despite making the better start and leading the race until the first round of pit stops, with Mercedes keeping Hamilton out longer as Red Bull pitted Max Verstappen earlier in the pit window to get an undercut.

Despite being on fresher rubber in the second and third stints, Verstappen was too far out of reach for Hamilton, who clung on to win in Austin and extend his championship lead over the Brit heading into Mexico.

Wolff admitted after the race that the car wasn’t fast enough on the medium tyres, whilst also praising Red Bull’s aggressive strategy. 

“This really was a race of interesting strategic games and great battles. We thought we had a sniff at the victory with Lewis, and he put in a brilliant charge in the final laps, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.” 

“In the first stint, the car wasn’t quick enough on the Medium, and then Red Bull went for a superaggressive first stop before covering it the second time. We thought our offset strategy, going longer, would be enough at the end to get them, but the moment you get within touching distance of the car in front, it makes it very difficult to make a move. In the end, we were close, but not close enough, so Red Bull deserved to win today. We are right there, we are in the fight, and we’re enjoying the battle. So, let’s see what the next one brings.”

Outgoing Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas had a challenging United States Grand Prix, with the Finn struggling to make his way through the order after starting from ninth on the grid.

But Wolff was pleased with Bottas’s performance which saw him make a late charge, in the race's closing stages, to finish sixth ahead of Carlos Sainz.

“For Valtteri, he also struggled with overtaking and moving through the field, but we used the longer stints to make up some places, and he put in a strong move on Sainz on the penultimate lap to take sixth. It’s not the weekend we hoped for, but we know there are still many opportunities to come.”

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