This question may be addressed completely by this canonical answer, and I'm happy to remove the question if so. However it's only one answer, and I don't think it could hurt to have more here; I have two specific questions, and I'd welcome your advice and tips.
I have a Giant Revolt 3 2020 Gravel bike. I do a lot of hill riding, and my hands get tired when riding on "on the hoods" (I'm using this post for handle positions). I use the "one the hoods" position almost all of the time: flats, ascents and descents. My local bike shop said I should be riding "on the drops" on long and/or steep descents, for two reasons: 1) it was more stable and less dangerous in case I hit a pothole, and 2) because it was easier to work the brakes.
As to point 1, I tried descending "on the drops" and it felt weird, but that's probably because I've been riding almost only on the hoods and I need time to get used to it. I also feel kind of "compressed", between the clipless shoes and the drops. But the thing that really makes me feel a bit weird is that I end up with so much weight on the front wheel on the descents, and in a way it makes me feel if I were to hit a pothole it would be problematic.
As to point 2, indeed, it's much easier to work the brakes. They're hydraulic disc brakes, and as I descend on the drops I keep two fingers wrapped around each brake lever, which involves pulling the brake lever back slightly (I can't keep the brake lever in its rest position and simultaneously hook my fingers around it, which I assume is normal: you have to hook your fingers a little around it to get a grip). Does engaging the brake lever this little bit engage the brakes slightly, thus leading to wear on the brake pads?
I'm looking for the safest way to descend. What's your experience? Thanks for any tips!