Is Mercedes' massive power in opposition to Crimson Bull a weak spot for Bottas? - Motor Informed
Formula 1

Is Mercedes’ massive power in opposition to Crimson Bull a weak spot for Bottas?

Mercedes escaped from Imola with its lead of each System 1 world championships nonetheless intact, however the crew is below no illusions of the hole to Crimson Bull that is still.

Lewis Hamilton scraped pole place for Mercedes on Saturday, aided by errors from each Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez behind. A rocket begin by Verstappen then put Crimson Bull accountable for the race, resulting in its first win of the yr, with a superb – albeit lucky – restoration to second place sparing Hamilton’s blushes after a uncommon error.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin conceded after the race that it was a “aid” to nonetheless lead the drivers’ and constructors’ factors standings, and that there stays a efficiency deficit to Crimson Bull that have to be overcome.

“They’ll win this championship if we don’t enhance our automobile in a short time,” Shovlin mentioned of Crimson Bull. “That’s actually our mindset – that we’re nonetheless those chasing.”

Crimson Bull F1 boss Christian Horner mentioned after the race that he anticipated the title combat to be settled by marginal positive aspects between the 2 groups, with one early battleground in 2021 surrounding tyre administration.

Mercedes could have struggled with rear-end instability on the W12 automobile on account of the downforce cuts for 2021, however the crew has labored to treatment the difficulty over the primary two races. Valtteri Bottas mentioned he felt “so much happier” with the automobile after topping each follow periods on Friday, giving the Finn hope of taking the combat to Crimson Bull.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

However Bottas’s weekend unravelled in qualifying resulting from a really completely different problem. After setting a time in Q1 that may have been ok for fourth on the grid had it been set in Q3, his tempo plummeted, leaving him a lowly eighth on the grid.

Bottas mentioned after qualifying that he was struggling on corner-entry, marking a brand new problem to that encountered in Bahrain, which Mercedes later associated to tyre warm-up. The issue was much more noticeable within the race as Bottas struggled to get his tyres into the correct temperature window within the cool circumstances, leaving him caught behind Lance Stroll within the first stint. George Russell was capable of achieve time on the Finn by advantage of his hotter slick tyres – fitted two laps sooner than Bottas’s personal mediums – earlier than their race-ending crash on the method to Flip 2.

Learn Additionally:

It marks a change in fortune for Mercedes. The crew has historically fared higher in cooler circumstances and struggled extra within the warmth with its current automobiles. Now, it has the other problem.

“Through the years, we very often wrestle in scorching circumstances, and chilly has been usually good as a result of we’ve had good tyre warm-up,” Bottas mentioned. “We’ve been actually making an attempt to develop the automobile, however didn’t overheat the tyres, however clearly with the unfavorable that if we have to get rapidly into the tyres, then possibly another automobiles can do it higher than us.

“For me personally, for instance in comparison with Lewis, it’s on such a knife-edge in qualifying, that typically you get it to work – like me in Q1, after I did a a lot sooner time than in Q3, I obtained them to work.

“It is all about one or two levels of floor or tyre temperature. It’s exhausting to elucidate. Clearly monitor temp was altering a bit, relying how a lot cloud there was, so possibly that had a little bit of an element.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB16B, and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Shovlin mentioned the tyre warm-up problem was one thing Mercedes needed to go away and work on as a way to assist Bottas flip round his robust begin to the season.

“The factor with tyre temperature, it’s typically a really small distinction has a really massive affect on grip,” Shovlin mentioned. “Sadly for Valtteri, he was simply the improper facet of numerous automobiles, and that gave him a really compromised begin place. That’s one factor we’ve obtained to go off and work on with him, and assist him perceive.

“Within the race, he was struggling following and with the ability to overtake, simply because he was shedding front-end within the tow, but additionally the rear wasn’t robust, and once more it was that theme that warm-up was an issue for him.

“On the transition to medium, the warm-up meant that he obtained caught in that bunch of automobiles the place some backmarkers, Max was there because the chief coming by way of, and that’s what actually triggered the sequence that ended his race.

“I feel all of the negatives have come right down to this problem of warm-up in these circumstances, and we have to discover a resolution to that, then I feel if we try this, the remainder of it ought to click on into place.”

However whereas tyre warm-up is perhaps a present Achilles’ heel for the W12 automobile, its tyre administration as a complete is in actual fact one of many areas Crimson Bull believes it trails on.

In Bahrain, Hamilton was capable of preserve his exhausting tyres alive for half the race and maintain on – with some because of the monitor limits controversy – to beat Verstappen, who was operating a lot more energizing tyres.

Horner felt the same image unfolded at Imola in the direction of the tip of the primary stint on intermediate tyres. Hamilton had hung round 5 seconds again from Verstappen all through the primary half of the race, solely to then bear down as they neared the crossover level to modify to slicks.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Verstappen was radioing his engineer lap after lap, asking when it was time to pit, and managed to get a one-lap benefit on the Mercedes by coming in early. It precipitated the hole to develop once more to 5 seconds, just for Hamilton to rapidly shut up earlier than his mistake at Tosa.

PLUS: How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

“The tempo is clearly very shut with Mercedes and I feel there are strengths and weaknesses of the automobiles in several areas,” Horner mentioned.

“I feel should you have a look at the efficiency on the inter, we have been faster at the start of the stint, they have been faster on the finish of the stint. The wear and tear sample throughout the tyres appears to be like fairly completely different between the 2 automobiles and I might say.

“As soon as they’re on, clearly the identical spec of tyre, in clear air, [Mercedes] regarded very, very aggressive. Certainly, he obtained the quickest lap.

“It is very tight and it is about getting essentially the most out of the automobile on a case-by-case foundation. However I might say Mercedes once more, like in Bahrain, regarded a bit stronger on the finish of the stints than we did.”

Shovlin defined how Mercedes labored the stability between fast tyre warm-up and maintaining the compounds alive for an extended stint, leaving him not sure simply how a lot of a bonus Crimson Bull had.

“It’s at all times a little bit of a compromise between the warm-up after which the longer run,” Shovlin mentioned after the race. “Whether or not we obtained that compromise proper, we have to go off and take a look at it. The glimpses we noticed on the inter, it appears to be like like sure [Red Bull] did [have better warm-up] – though Lewis has clearly sustained that harm.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, leaves his pit box

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, leaves his pit field

Photograph by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“On the medium tyre, it’s not so clear. I believed we have been truly fairly good on warm-up there in comparison with them.”

As F1 heads in the direction of the European summer season, it may very well be the hotter circumstances naturally assist clear up a few of the tyre warm-up points – and assist Bottas specifically.

However for now, it’s a trade-off that Mercedes is making an attempt to handle because it goals to guard its factors benefit in opposition to sooner opposition.

Sparks trail behind Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Sparks path behind Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

shares

feedback

Associated video

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Sébastien Ogier will check the Toyota effectively in a Hypercar
Dropping the race within the final laps would have been “painful”
MotoGP will get well from Rossi’s departure
Podcast: Previewing the BTCC’s Manufacturers Hatch showdown
What will happen to the Red Bull Ferrari project in DTM?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *