When Vettel and Raikkonen had qualified on the front row for raceday in Bahrain, the only possible way Mercedes could have made a case for toppling the Ferraris would have been through a sound strategy.
And the strategy was in place and Mercedes almost pulled off a coup, but for Vettel’s sublime driving skills on those soft tyres which were supposedly made to last about 30 laps of high speed driving. Vettel drove the last 39 laps of the race on them, fighting with tyre grip issues all along.
He managed to hold Bottas off at the end to win his 2nd consecutive Grand Prix of this season.
Mercedes however, have accepted a ‘strategic blunder’ on their part and the failure to have responded to Vettel’s change in pit stop strategy rather languidly.
“We were probably a little bit too slow to recognise the threat that Sebastian was actually going to take those soft tyres all the way to the flag,” James Allison said.
“Had we been slightly quicker to react to it we probably would have kept more pressure on him in the laps 35 to 45 and we might have had a better outcome as a result. We expected him to stop again but he did very well in nursing those tyres all the way to the flag.” he added.
Allison was quick to add that even Mercedes could have opted for the ‘soft tyre one pit stop strategy’ had they known that they could last this long.
“The tyre wear of our car this year has been very good and in general better than the field.
“Whether specifically we could have made the soft tyres last the number of laps Sebastian did we would only know by trying. My guess is we would because our car is looking after its tyres very well in the races this year.” Allison said.
The Chinese GP is slated for this weekend and Mercedes would be hoping to put out a strong show there in order to get some parity in the drivers and constructors championships.