Wolff defends Hamilton United States GP strategy

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Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has defended his team's strategy
at the United States Grand Prix following its narrow defeat to Red
Bull's Max Verstappen. chased Verstappen in the
closing stages of the race at the Circuit of the Americas, equipped
with the Medium compound while Verstappen ran the Hard. Mercedes
originally planned to do a one-stop strategy and kept Hamilton on
the circuit later than his rivals during the first round of pit
stops. But his first set of Medium tyres dropped away unexpectedly,
forcing Mercedes to pit the seven-time World Champion for Hard
tyres despite knowing it would drop him behind Verstappen and
compromise its ideal plan. Hamilton recovered the lost time in the
strategy by closing in on Verstappen at the end after switching
back to the Mediums but ran out of laps to launch an attack.
“Hindsight is a tough thing because you can say we could have
covered Max, we had the quicker car at that stage but we didn't
know,” Wolff told Sky . “So dragging it out to a one-stop was a
valid thing at that stage but then we lost so much time over two
laps and that's what lost us the race. “We were on lap 19 or 20 and
we needed to extend until 23 to make the one-stop stick. Max
stopped for a clear two [stop strategy] and we knew we just needed
four more laps with a one-stop. “He was 20 seconds behind us and
then the tyre just dropped and we lost the gap.” Norris defence
‘fair' In the latter stages, Hamilton closed in on Lando Norris for
second place who was struggling on the Hard compound and found
himself stuck behind the McLaren driver for several corners before
launching an attack at Turn 1. Norris defended aggressively but
didn't have the grip to keep Hamilton behind. “That lap was two
seconds slower than the previous one the one the one after,” said
Wolff. “But then you expect the defending and with Ricciardo [who
pitted for Soft tyres for the fastest lap attempt] it was a second
and a half. But fair do's.”

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