Mercedes: Williams F1 team was wrong-footed in British GP strategy

Mercedes believes the Williams Formula 1 team "probably got caught on the wrong foot" strategically in the battle for victory in the British Grand Prix on Sunday

Mercedes: Williams F1 team was wrong-footed in British GP strategy

Williams held a surprise one-two with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas in the first stint at Silverstone, but it was unable to fend off eventual winner Lewis Hamilton around the pitstops to hold onto the lead.

The team also stuck to its guns and allowed its drivers to race each other, rather than considering letting Bottas past when he appeared to be getting held up by Massa.

GP ANALYSIS: What more could Williams have done?

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said he sympathised with the Williams dilemma and recalled what it was like when the current world champion team was unfamiliar with competing for victories.

"Sometimes I had a bit of deja vu like us in 2013 when you find yourself in P1 and P2 and you're surprised," said Wolff.

"You don't want to risk the team result because it's so amazing.

"It's so easy to say what someone should have done, but I'm not in there and I think they probably got caught on the wrong foot."

Bottas claimed after the race that he felt he could have built a gap if he was in front of Massa, which Wolff agreed with.

The Mercedes chief also explained his team's attempt to trick Williams into making an early pitstop by sending mechanics out into the pitlane with no intention of bringing Hamilton or Nico Rosberg in.

"Probably Valtteri could have built a gap if they let him go," said Wolff.

"It was a bit of a game [in the pits] - we know Williams have more difficulty in making the tyres last.

"We knew that triggering an early stop would make them think we were able to [make the tyres last] and could have caused them problems at the end.

"But they knew they needed more time. For them it was too early, too marginal.

"It would have been too difficult on the prime tyre to finish the race [with an earlier stop]."

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