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Alarm mood at Mercedes: breakdown series costs world championship leadership

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Alarm mood at Mercedes
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M ercedes team boss Toto Wolff spoke of a wake-up call. His Foreign Minister Niki Lauda of alarm mood. Sebastian Vettel started from pole position and controlled the race from the front. Valtteri Bottas finished in second place 7.3 seconds behind the winner and in the end almost got overrun by Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton bit his teeth in the fight with Daniel Ricciardo for fourth place. The championship lead went back to Vettel.

Wolff made a clear statement after the Grand Prix: “We came to Montreal believing that our car would be strong. Now we are leaving knowing that Ferrari had the better car at every stage. In qualifying and in the race. ”

You can accept that on tracks like Monte Carlo and Singapore. But not on a course where power plays a role and where you have always won since 2015. Niki Lauda became even clearer: “Today Ferrari has the better car, the better engine and the better fuel consumption. They overtook us in disciplines where we were once ahead. Now something has to happen in all areas. ”

Hamilton had to turn back performance

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Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda sound the alarm . Ferrari was better in all areas.

Wolff warned of the many small mishaps that could have cost Mercedes the victory. The abandonment of the expansion stage of the engine because an engine broke on the test bench five days before the race. The decision to book only five sets of Hypersoft tires. Lewis Hamilton's engine problem in the race, which temporarily forced the world champion to turn down from mode plus to normal. And Valtteri's gasoline problemBottas, who let Max Verstappen come dangerously close.

On the points in the individual review. Wolff defended the decision to leave the Spec 2 engines in the transport crates, even though at least a tenth was given away. “During development, you always had to find a good balance between reliability and lap time. We have demonstrated over the past few years that we have always made the right decision. ”

When choosing tires, Wolff admits that, from today's perspective, his 13 tire sets would have been put together differently. “With more sets of Hypersoft, we would have given our drivers more opportunities to focus on this type of tire. Maybe we lost pole position there. And so the race could have gone differently. '

Hamilton was put on the defensive from the first lap:' I already felt a loss of power in the second corner and then had to take great risks. to keep up with the Red Bull. ”The fault was a defective valve in the water circuit. This caused the engine temperatures to rise.

As an immediate measure, Hamilton was asked not to select the higher of the two power levels for the race. The problem also dictated the early pit stop on lap 16.

Mercedes is equipped for such cases. The mechanics removed the covers from the gill-like cooling outlets next to the driver's head. Then the engine ran again in the green area. At least most. 'In the fight against Ricciardo in the penultimate lap I felt a loss of performance and trembled until the end that I would even cross the finish line,' Hamilton exaggerated.

Valtteri Bottas had other worries. After his pit stop on lap 36, he only drove with a look at the fuel meter. “Montreal is running out of gas for everyone. But Vettel was able to drive faster than me despite saving fuel. And Verstappen came closer and closer to me. Before the finish line I'm full of the gas. Max would almost be over by then. I finished with the last few drops. ”

The Mercedes strategists had decided that Bottas should only take his foot off the accelerator in the second half of the race. “Before the pit stop, we wanted to stay as close as possible. That's why we postponed saving fuel until later. '

Lauda worries about gas mileage

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Bottas crossed the finish line just before Verstappen because he had to save a lot of fuel in the end.

Gasoline consumption is what worries Lauda most. “We used to be number one, and now Ferrari and Renault can do it better than we can.” The Austrian hopes that, at least on the engine side, the situation will ease again at the next race at Paul Ricard. “We'll get our new engine there. That should help us. '

Lauda still persists:' We also lost with the car. 'Ferrari made a noticeable step aerodynamically with new baffles. That is why Wolff comes to the conclusion: “Every little improvement to the car or engine can be important now. We have to start in all areas. ”

Lewis Hamilton, however, does not yet see any reason to panic. Vettel only leads by one point and the season is still long. You have to think positively in such situations: “I could also have been out. Our car has potential. From now on we just have to minimize the bad days and keep the error rate as low as possible. '

But Hamilton also said:' Ferrari has the most consistent car. And Red Bull is now our equal. ”Team mate Bottas admits:“ Ferrari has made progress with the car and engine. We haven't missed much, but enough. That shows how difficult it has become to win. “

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