Toto Wolff has revealed that the decision to perform an undercut attempt on Pierre Gasly was forced upon Lewis Hamilton, as there was simply no tyre life left on the Mercedes.
Hamilton, stuck behind Gasly in the first stint, attempted to undercut the AlphaTauri. But, with Gasly, Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Sergio Perez all running longer, Hamilton ultimately lost out on track position.
The reigning Champion was furious on the radio, complaining that he felt the tyres had been good enough to stay out on track but Wolff explained that there wasn't sufficient tyre life left to stay going on track.
"He said on the radio 'are we undercutting?', and we felt the undercut was the right thing to do in order to pass Gasly," Wolff told members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.
"And that's what we did. And the stop was good. The outlap was good. But he was just a second and a half ahead and they maintained that gap.
"We thought that one and a half seconds would be enough with the outlap. But it wasn't.
"On Valtteri's car, we were finished with the tyres and, on Lewis' car, when we analysed the tyres after the stop there wasn't anything left either. So there wasn't enough performance to overcut Gasly."
With Mercedes changing setup for Saturday qualifying as a result of their findings after Thursday practice, Wolff was asked about the prospects the team would have had for Hamilton if they had run their original setup.
"I think he would have done better in qualifying, he would have suffered more in the race, the direction that we were thinking of was heating the tyres more," Wolff explained.
"Which we then finally did in qualifying but not good enough and Valtteri was on course for pole.
"That is what the lap prediction showed us but we saw today that the degradation was worse than on the other cars, on the competitors' car. So that isn't the solution."