Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says it is planning changes to its pitstop procedures after slow tyre changes stymied Lewis Hamilton in the United States Grand Prix.

Before he was disqualified post-race, Hamilton had enjoyed his strongest showing of the 2023 season to date, coming within 2.2s of eclipsing Max Verstappen for victory.

Both Wolff and Verstappen admitted that Mercedes had the potential to win the race without the German marque’s indecision forcing Hamilton to stop later than his rivals.

Although Hamilton agreed with the pair’s assessment, the Briton contended that a sequence of sluggish pit stops had also proved costly to his win chances on track.

“I think in one of the pit stops, I might have been a bit long, which then made it harder for the guys, and then the stop wasn’t that great overall,” Hamilton admitted.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 makes a pit stop. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day

While McLaren delivered a 2.07s stop for Lando Norris and Red Bull’s fastest was timed at 2.45s, Hamilton was left stationary in his pit box for 3.6s and 3.4s respectively.

Mercedes has consistently lagged behind the competition on the pit stop front this year, currently languishing seventh overall on the points standings calculated by DHL.

Furthermore, the Brackley-based squad have not recorded a pitstop that stands within the top 10 fastest of this year, with Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull occupying every spot.

Following its Austin defeat, Wolff declares that Mercedes must rectify its shortcomings, but he has detached blame from the team’s personnel for its repeat pit stop defects.

“Our mindset in the last 12 years, we don’t need to be World Champions in pitstops,” Wolff explained.

“We need to avoid very slow pitstops. And it’s coming to a situation now where we realise that it has got so competitive, and we just need to ramp up our game up there.

“That’s in terms of equipment and science around it, and the way we are set up, to avoid 3 or 3.5 seconds pitstops because all of that played a part.”

Hamilton was disqualified along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after it was discovered their respective cars did not comply with the regulations on plank wear.

Wolff later acknowledged Mercedes got caught out by a slight misjudgement that the team must accept and “take on the chin”.

Meanwhile, Hamilton remained positive despite losing a podium at the Circuit of the Americas due to the instant progress delivered by Mercedes’ revised floor update.

“I feel positive as we’re moving forward, even if reflecting on it we could have possibly won today,” Hamilton added.

“It is of course disappointing to be disqualified post-race but that doesn’t take away from the progress we’ve made this weekend.”

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