Chief Strategist James Vowles answers your questions about the German GP...
Ben Wardle asked on Facebook:
- Did you intend to keep Lewis out that long or did you alter the strategy because of the incoming rain?
James Vowles: "We took the Soft tyre at the beginning of the race with the intention of running very long and Lewis in the end did the longest first stint of anyone.
"We were continuously monitoring and talking to him about how the tyres are and what the state is with them, to make sure we could push them long and there was still life left in the tyres.
"We knew there was a chance of rain, but we believed it to be very light later on and one of the best things you can have is fresh UltraSoft tyres, rather than a very used Soft tyre in those conditions.
"When we stopped we were 25 seconds behind Vettel but Lewis did a fantastic job and managed to pull all that lead pack back to within 11 seconds of him, so a gain of 14 seconds overall.
"Correct decision, put ourselves in a very good position in order to then go on to win the race."
Michael James Newbon queried on Facebook:
- What made you guys so sure the UltraSoft would be the best tyre to put Lewis on?
JV: "It wasn't inter or x-wet conditions clearly at that point so it had to be a dry compound and you want the one that provides the most grip available to you, which of our selection is the UltraSoft.
"It provides the best grip in those greasy conditions. So, really, it was a straightforward decision."
Ryan Poole (@ryanpber) sent us this question on Twitter:
- How did you know it was only going to rain over Turn 6 and areas close to this?
JV: "On the pit wall sat with us is our expert weather forecaster. He is continuously monitoring all the available systems to him to understand what rain is around, how it will form and what will happen during the course of the race.
"In the German Grand Prix, it was invaluable to make the decisions we did. What he could see is even at the beginning of the race there was a rain cell forming just four kilometres away, so very, very close but it didn't hit the circuit.
"But, he could predict the nature of which the cells were coming in, how they were expanding and therefore where it would hit if it were to expand, which was Turn 6.
"He informed both engineers, who then informed the drivers and allowed us to prepare in the best way possible for what was then going to happen.
"He also forecast the rain would be light and not covering all of the circuit."
Thanks to José Rodríguez (@joserf__) for this question on Instagram:
- When and why did you decide not to change to wet tyres?
JV: "We knew that the conditions were very difficult out there for both Valtteri and Lewis and they were really struggling.
"You saw a number of cars in fact both spinning, Leclerc doing a full 360, and Vettel crashing on lap 52 of the race. It was difficult.
"There was one to two laps that were into inter conditions, around lap 51 and 52, everything else was very much still faster on slicks if not extremely difficult. And we knew that.
"We knew that the rain was passing, that was the worst of it and you had to remain on slick tyres in order to maximise your benefit.
"At one point in that race on lap 46, there was every single compound used. There was a Medium, a Soft, an UltraSoft, an inter and an x-wet.
"Just to show you how difficult the conditions were out there to both predict and work with. Both Valtteri and Lewis did an incredible job, kept it on the track and ultimately that is what led to a fantastic one-two."
Ben Belcher (@BenBelcher_) asked on Twitter:
- What caused the mix-up with Valtteri's tyres when he boxed under the SC?
JV: "We had a few seconds to react with Valtteri, we got him into the pit lane and he did a great job.
"What then happened was a miscommunication on what tyres were required and intermediate tyres were called, that was incorrect.
"We knew UltraSoft was going to be the correct tyre, the conditions right then and there were intermediate but was going to happen was after the Safety Car appeared, they were 100 per cent going to be back into UltraSoft or dry conditions.
"What then happened is given the high-pressure situation, the guys did a fantastic job and something we purposely train for.
"They dealt with it in an extremely calm manner, got the correct tyres for Valtteri's car of the correct specification and all four were bolted to the car. The car left the pit lane in a very short period of time afterwards."
Ifan (@ifan.jonezz7) commented on Instagram asking:
- What was the confusion about Hamilton pitting when the Safety Car was deployed?
JV: "On lap 52 Valtteri was in Turn 15 when the Safety Car was deployed, that's around a two and a half second reaction time that we have to get him in before he's at the pit lane entry.
"With Lewis we only had a few seconds more than that. So, it's not very long in order to coordinate two drivers, an engineering team and all of the pit crew to come out into the pit lane with the correct tyres.
"It creates a huge amount of radio traffic and indeed too much, it was mostly chaotic during that point in time with a lot of transmissions everywhere.
"As a result of it, there was a miscommunication to Lewis, he understood that he should go back out on track and he completed that.
"He drove across the grass and got back out on track again. The reality behind all of it is that actually, that turned out to be extremely fortunate given the issues that we had with Valtteri and the tyres at the pit stop.
"It put Lewis in the lead of the race and those tyres were able to recover. We could indeed have stopped next lap as Kimi did but decided to keep him out there and keep those tyres going.
"It's his best chance of winning the race and it worked out very well."
Jess (@JJ1410) queried on Twitter:
- What were your predictions of where Lewis could finish before the race, without rain or Safety Cars?
JV: "Before the race, we'd sat down with Lewis extensively and gone through the various options available to him.
"One thing that was clear was he had to fight through traffic very, very quickly and by around lap 14 he'd done that. He'd done a fantastic job.
"The second was that his best result today would come from taking the Soft tyres very, very long as others may be suffering from blistering or convert to a two-stop.
"Again, he did a fantastic job taking those tyres all the way up to lap 42 and going to the UltraSoft tyres. In the morning, we'd predicted fifth was very much achievable, but to get a podium we needed something more, we needed a Safety Car, we needed some set of conditions to push us there.
"As it was, before the rain even turned up in that race, Lewis actually was on course for potentially getting back up into P4, maybe even P3 in the best-case scenario because his pace was so strong.
"The reality though is as the rain started to hit, we saw opportunity that it was far more than that and he was able to deliver on Sunday."