Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Vettel concerned after Barcelona tyre struggle

Mercedes edges Ferrari on second day of in-season F1 testing			Image by Portlock  LAT Mercedes edges Ferrari on second day of in-season F1 testing Image by Portlock LAT
Frederick Owens | 17 May, 2018, 16:56

After a relatively sluggish start to 2018, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport's chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin has said that the team's first 1-2 finish of the season is a "great reward".

Hamilton won from pole, unchallenged by the rest of the grid.

Hamilton, the reigning world champion, will not complain. The supersoft tyre wasn't delivering the grip and peak performance they expected and, in fact, the Ferrari drivers ended up qualifying on the soft tyre even in Q3.

"We are not far from finalising things".

Isola also explained that giving all teams the opportunity to try out the different specifications in the test - something that was planned in advance of the weekend - was so that Pirelli could get a "proper comparison". Bottas finished just ahead of Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. However, a slight error at the stop ensured that Bottas rejoined behind the scrapping Vettel and Kevin Magnussen.

With the exception of the seasonopening Melbourne race, the 33-year-old had so far this season appeared ill at ease in his Mercedes, fighting to impose his will on a capricious vehicle.

"Honestly I think Monaco is going to be hard for us", he said after Sunday's race.

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"We were expecting a two stop race today and when Vettel stopped on lap 17 we hoped to be able to overcut taking advantage of poor warm-up on the medium".

If Mercedes' dominance was more like what Formula One fans have gotten used to seeing from the Silver Arrows, then Hamilton's display on Sunday was also right up there with the best the Briton has produced on his way to four world championships.

So, while Sunday's result will be hugely encouraging to Hamilton and Mercedes, it should not be taken as an indication that the team will dominate from here on in. Shovlin resumed to say that the Barcelona track suited Mercedes' package and suggested that the conditions "flattered" the W09's performance.

We've seen the wings get bigger, smaller, wider, higher, lower and a combination of all of these, but the feeling coming out of the F1 technical camp is that this time the changes proposed have been better researched than anytime before.

"However, the continued efforts of everyone in Brackley and Brixworth have played no small part in today's success".

Spanish Grand Prix victor Lewis Hamilton believes that F1 tire supplier, Pirelli, should bring more "racier" tires to each weekend.

It is a race where the pole-sitter often wins - it has happened on 20 of the previous 27 occasions - and, fresh from his victory in Azerbaijan, the Mercedes driver will be confident of maximum points again. "But I have the will to want to get this one and do it right, ideal weekend in, weekend out".

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