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Toto Wolff

Wolff explains reason behind Russell's 'little goodie' to beat Red Bull

George Russell made a surprise second pit-stop during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as Toto Wolff reveals why.

Wolff Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

Toto Wolff has revealed the reason why Mercedes decided to make a second pit-stop with George Russell during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. 

Russell was the first of the leading drivers to pit on lap 21, trading to the hard tyres, but surprisingly made a second stop on lap 52 of 63 for a change to the medium rubber. 

In doing so, Russell, who was the better of the two Mercedes drivers across the weekend, dropped behind Lewis Hamilton, as the two Britons finished sixth and seventh. 

Russell did bank the fastest lap, his first since the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as he said he would not "sulk" over the result, as Wolff explained Mercedes' thinking.

"[It was] not difficult," Wolff told media including RacingNews365 of the decision to pull Russell in for the second stop. 

"I think taking the point for the fastest lap was a little goodie, but the lap-times were dropping off because we had pitted him early.

"There was the risk of losing the position a few laps later to Perez, and beating one of the Red Bulls in the circumstances was advantageous.

"The wear life of the tyres said that at lap 57, the tyre will be gone and that is why we made the call."

Mercedes upgrades

Mercedes was firmly the fourth-fastest team at Imola, behind Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, a place Russell feels is where the team currently is. 

The W15 had received new floor upgrades heading into the weekend with a solid Friday raising hopes of a good result, before the team slipped behind its rivals.

But Wolff is encouraged by what he has seen.

"What we are seeing now on the car are those incremental gains that we're bringing, rather than a miracle update giving the car a better balance window," he said.

"It is making the car having more performance, but it is a thing where you gain a tenth or a tenth-and-a-half but at the same time, the other teams are making progress.

"We are on a trajectory where we're making the car better, and its like a share price going up, we're doing it so as long as the direction is correct, I feel more confident now."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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