Toto Wolff has denied the DAS system on the Mercedes was a “silver bullet” that greatly influenced Lewis Hamilton’s Eifel Grand Prix victory.
Hamilton’s 91st Formula 1 win, which equalled the record of race triumphs set by Michael Schumacher, was under threat when a Safety Car period closed up the field while Lando Norris’ stricken McLaren was being recovered from the side of the Nurburgring circuit.
It meant Max Verstappen in the Red Bull had a chance of launching an attack at the World Champion, but in the event Hamilton enjoyed much the better restart and the Dutchman found himself having to fend off Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault.
From that point on, Hamilton was always in control and took the chequered flag 4.47sec ahead of Verstappen.
For this season, Mercedes introduced the Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system, a main benefit of which is to warm the tyres in situations such as when the Safety Car is on track. It will be outlawed from next year.
Referring to getting the tyres back up to temperature after the Safety Car period, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner opined that Mercedes could “perhaps handle it better than us” because of the DAS system.
💬 "Lewis, absolutely impressive what you have achieved and also to the team and everybody back at base, I am so proud of where we are today."
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) October 13, 2020
But his counterpart Wolff suggested the effect of DAS had been exaggerated and that it had certainly not made the difference between victory and defeat for Hamilton.
“You can see the Red Bulls, Max in particular, were very good in the first sector,” said Wolff, quoted by Autosport.
“So their warm-up and everything they did was better than ours, but on one lap we obviously saved time.
“The DAS helped a bit. It’s not the game-changer, the silver bullet as everyone thinks. But it’s a good tool to keep a little more heat up front.”
Hamilton and Verstappen, meanwhile, were more concerned about the pace of the Safety Car, feeling it could have gone faster to enable them to preserve some heat in their tyres.
“I don’t know why it was going so slow, maybe it’s because everyone has to catch up, whatever it is,” said Hamilton, with FIA race director Michael Masi confirming afterwards the Safety Car period lasted as long as it did so that cars allowed to unlap themselves could catch up.
Verstappen, meanwhile, referred to the situation of having cold tyres as “quite dangerous” and also felt it was “unfair” that the unlapped cars could speed around the track and warm up their tyres before latching back on to the train.