Cape Town - Mercedes have admitted they were "probably a little bit
too slow" to recognise the threat of a one-stopping Sebastian Vettel in
Although Vettel led the early stages of the grand prix, it
looked as if the Ferrari driver would lose the race to Valtteri Bottas after
Mercedes put the Finn on a one-stop strategy, running the medium tyres in the
As Ferrari have put the soft tyres on Vettel's car during
his stop it was assumed that the German was on a two-stopper.
Vettel ran the soft tyres for a marathon 39 laps, beating
Bottas to the chequered flag by 0.699s.
"We were probably a little bit too slow to recognise the
threat that Sebastian was actually going to take the soft tyres all the way to
the flag," technical director James Allison said in the latest edition of
Pure Pit Wall.
"Had we been slightly quicker to react to it we would
probably have kept more pressure on him on the laps 35 to 45, and we might have
had a better outcome as a result.
"We expected him to stop again but he did very, very
well in nursing those tyres all the way to the flag.
"Valtteri did manage to close down on Vettel with three
laps to go we were hard up against his bumper but we were not quite good enough
to get past him.
"Probably if the race had been a lap or two longer it
would have been a different outcome but we left our charge a little bit too
late and weren’t able to get the race win."