Hamilton had questioned Mercedes tyre strategy as Ferrari get it right

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Lewis Hamilton did question the Mercedes tyre strategy which ultimately proved crucial during the Italian Grand Prix.

The Briton opted for the medium compound at his only pit-stop, while Ferrari put the slower but more durable hard rubber on Charles Leclerc's car.

While the extra grip did allow Hamilton to follow the Monegasque closely, ultimately the performance didn't hang on and a lock-up ended his chances as he fell to third.

"I mean yeah, if I’d gone onto the hard tyre, I probably would have had the pace to finish second with the tyre that goes longer," he admitted.

"But I wouldn’t have changed the position I think between myself and Charles. I think he still would have been too quick today.

Also Read:

"I did ask in the morning if I could go to the hard tyre, but they said no because we hadn’t run it, they didn’t think it was quick enough.

"I think the tyre that we were on was quick, but I did say in the meeting this morning that the tyre was potentially going to go off the cliff, because I was following so closely behind for so long, on the ragged edge trying to get as close as I could to be in shooting distance of trying to overtake."

What was doubly frustrating for Hamilton was his opportunities were limited to half-chances in the second chicane as Ferrari's power negated any threat into Turn 1.

"Every time I opened up the DRS, I don’t know if they went into a different power mode, but the gap just stayed the same," he added. "They had a lot of speed on the straights."

In Leclerc's view, the option to fit the most durable tyre also proved key to holding off both threats posed by Mercedes.

"I think the strategy was good and obviously we were in a tricky situation because we had the two Mercedes behind and I was the only Ferrari, so they could play the game with going long with one car and earlier with the other," he explained.

"It was very, very tricky but I think that in the end, we have made the right choice with the hards."

With Ferrari usually criticised for their strategic errors, team boss Mattia Binotto praised the "brave" decision.

“He [Leclerc] is driving very well. We can see how he defended his position today. We put on the hard tyres which we believed was the right choice,” he commented.

“We knew that the wear would have been critical [on the medium] and the best way to protect him was to be on the hard. I think it was a brave, but right decision.”