FIA race director Charlie Whiting dismissed Mercedes’ possible attempts to bluff Ferrari during Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, insisting false pitstop actions are “all part of the game”.

Twice over the course of the afternoon, the Silver Arrows crews took to the pitlane, tyres and tools in hand, only to retreat to their garage without either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas stopping.

Many believed the actions were a breach of F1’s sporting regulations which state that “team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete.”

    Hamilton says he left Vettel enough space on first lap

Queried on the issue, Whiting gave Mercedes the benefit of the doubt.

“My feeling is that it is all part of the game,” he said.

“We don’t like teams hanging around in the pit lane if they are not actually doing a pit stop, but if they come out as if there are going to do one … if they did it every lap I think we would have something to say.

“But they may well have been thinking about doing one and then changed their mind, so unless someone does something overtly incorrect I don’t think we will do anything about it.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insisted his team’s actions at Monza had nothing to do with any sort of attempt to pull a fast one on Ferrari.

“It wasn’t a phantom stop,” Wolff said. “You need to be prepared if you undercut or overcut.

“We didn’t know if Kimi was coming in so the message was to do the opposite. Doing the opposite means you need to have the pit crew prepared.”

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