James Vowles says Lewis Hamiton couldn’t emulate Sergio Perez’s Monaco strategy as he couldn’t preserve his tyres as well.
Perez enjoyed one of the best Sundays of anyone, finishing in P4 after starting the race down in P8, and that was thanks to excellent pace at the end of his first stint.
Once those ahead of him had pitted, he put his foot down and, despite being on old softs, was one of the quickest drivers on track, successfully executing the overcut.
Hamilton was one of those that the Red Bull man got ahead of, and the Brit was happy that his team didn’t keep him out for longer too before pitting him.
However, Vowles, the strategy director, says that this wouldn’t have worked as he couldn’t look after his tyres as well as Checo, who is renowned for his ability to do so.
“We obviously, when the tyres come in, we have the ability to wear check them,” he said in the team’s Youtube debrief.
“So, you sort of scrape off the surface of dirt and pickup that is on the tyre and then you can measure specific holes in order to determine how much rubber was remaining.
“Now, he had done a really good job of saving his front tyres, they were in a quite good state, but the rear wasn’t, the rear was somewhat akin to where Valtteri’s was and that would have been a problem.
“And just extrapolating a bit because obviously none of us know, I think we could have done a couple more laps but certainly, we wouldn’t have done ten more. So, it’s going to be somewhere between those numbers and how fast we would have been is also difficult to tell.
“I think, what’s fair to say is that the Red Bull’s end of stint pace, especially with Perez, is something that was outstanding relative to the field and relative to ourselves and that wouldn’t have been achievable given the wear we had.”
💔 The moment Valtteri's excellent #MonacoGP fell apart on Sunday.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 25, 2021
Things went even worse for Hamilton’s team-mate, with Valtteri Bottas being forced to retire after looking comfortable in P2 due to a pit-stop issue. Specifically, the team were unable to remove the Finn’s front right wheel to change tyres.
When asked whether the team considered just sending their drivers out on his old set and taking whatever penalty they were given for not running two compounds, Vowles stated that doing so would have led to immediate disqualification.
“Sadly, we couldn’t have done that. We could have put Valtteri out on track, but we would have been disqualified,” he added.
“You have to under the regulations run both sets, two different sets of dry specification tyres in the race and also all four corners must match in terms of what compound they are and we would have triggered a disqualification as a result of carrying on that way.
“It’s an obvious rule if you think about it. In Monaco for example if it was just an extra pit stop or 30-second penalty you may choose to never come in, but it’s there to expressly cover that circumstance.”