Mercedes looked poised to challenge Red Bull for their first victory of 2022 at the Mexican Grand Prix. After George Russell and Lewis Hamilton split Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in qualifying, the team were confident that they could challenge for the win based on strategy. The team elected to start both drivers on Medium tyres instead of the Soft - which Red Bull did - confirming they would attempt to do a one-stop. But it meant their very likely strategy option was to switch to the slower, Hard tyre during the pit stops - which Toto Wolff said was the wrong call . Even though Mercedes were anticipating Verstappen to make a second stop, Red Bull's switch to Medium tyres was the right call, with both of their drivers able to go the distance and Hamilton unable to apply any pressure in the closing stages. With Ferrari coming under fire for their approach to strategy during the 2022 season, Team Principal Mattia Binotto pointed to the error saying that "it's not only down to us" making the wrong choices on strategy when challenging Red Bull. "In Hungary we have been criticised and it's normally when we are doing things which are not completely right," he told media, including RacingNews365.com . "Mercedes maybe have lost the last race as well, by not choosing the right tyres in Austin. "So, it's not only down to us somehow to make different choices or making mistakes."
Optimal strategy was always Soft/Medium, says Binotto
Binotto believes the fastest strategy would've always been a one-stop, starting on the Soft and then running the Medium until the end, contrary to Pirelli's advice which was to run a two-stop. This did require a lot of tyre management however, which Binotto says is what contributed to Ferrari's slow pace among the other power unit-related issues . He explained: "We came to the conclusion before race that the optimal strategy is starting on Soft and then [switching to] Medium was the best choice. "[This] is because having tested them on Friday, we saw that there was not much degradation on the Soft [and it was] sufficient to run a one stop; Soft-Medium. "Certainly in the race we had to manage our tyres to make sure that we're surviving on a one-stop [strategy], and that maybe is the reason for our slow pace [in the race]. Binotto added that while Leclerc asked for "Plan C" which was to switch to a two-stop strategy, it would've lost him too much time in traffic. "With Charles at some stage he asked us for 'Plan C' which was simply switching onto a two-stop, because he knew the tyres were difficult [to manage]. "But he would have simply pit into too much traffic, behind seven cars, so it would not have been the right choice."