Ferrari left surprised by Mercedes’ race strategy

Date published: September 28 2019

Mercedes Ferrari

Ferrari boss, Mattia Binotto, has said the team are surprised to see Mercedes start the Russian Grand Prix on the medium tyres in Sunday’s race.

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari have recorded four pole positions in a row following a dominant performance at the Sochi Autodrom.

Yet it may not be all plain sailing in the race as an intriguing tactical battle potentially awaits on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton managed to dislodge Sebastian Vettel from the front row and will start the race on the medium tyres, compared to Leclerc and Vettel who will both start on the softs.

Binotto said that the option Mercedes took was not something they even thought about considering themselves.

“That is surprising to us, their choice [of starting on the mediums],” Binotto told Sky Sports F1.

“It is not something we were considering to be honest. I think we even need to try to understand why they did that choice.

“Certainly we feel the soft tyre has got a grip advantage at the start. The start will be key tomorrow.

“But maybe what they did is the right choice. Different strategies may do something interesting for the race and for the fans. We will see.”

Mercedes trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, said after qualifying that the Silver Arrows were “very keen” to start on the mediums following some overnight planning.

“One of the key things is that we’ve started on the medium tyres,” Shovlin said via Mercedes’ official Twitter channel.

“We were keen to do that. We think that will give us some options in race, even if we are behind the Ferrari cars or the Red Bull.

“Everyone else is on the softs so it is going to be quite interesting to see how that pans out.

“And obviously a phenomenal job by Lewis to get the car onto the front row.”

 

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