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Braking at the limit: Mercedes like Lotus once did

Braking at the limit in Singapore
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L otus founder Colin Chapman has the famous saying. “The best racing car breaks apart right after the finish line.” The brilliant racing car designer often took this principle a little too literally. Many of his Lotus gave up before the finish line. But the cross-border commuter was confirmed often enough. Lotus collected 6 drivers 'titles and 7 constructors' world championships during its time.

Mercedes follows this principle a bit. With the difference that the Silver Arrows mostly hold. Singapore was a good example of how much Mercedes pushes the envelope. Both cars suffered from excessively high braking temperatures at the front. It was already visually obvious that Mercedes chose the smallest ventilation shafts of all teams at the front. Which brings aerodynamic advantages.

Mercedes is amazed at Ferrari

The engineers deliberately went to the limit and were surprised that there were no complaints from the other teams. 'Brake problems? We didn't, ”said Daniel Ricciardo. Singapore is one of the toughest tracks for the brakes. 'You are too slow to get enough air into the ventilation ducts,' say the technicians.

In total, the drivers step into their irons 13 times and spend 24 percent of the lap time on the brakes. An energy of 144 kilowatt hours is converted into heat per lap.

The Mercedes engineers were particularly amazed at Ferrari. “We were really surprised that Kimi was able to follow us within seconds for most of the race without having any braking problems. We couldn't have done that. With Nico and Lewis, the brakes overheated even when they were driving freely. ”

“ We actually thought that the cooling at the front was efficient and that we didn't use much less cooling than the others. At the moment we can't explain why they got too hot anyway. Nico was worse than Ricciardo and Raikkonen, but not dramatic. The braking problems never went away completely. Both drivers learned to use it over the course of the race and still drive fast. ”

A car for the position at the top

Nico Rosberg won the race anyway, although he was above all During the first and second stint he kept getting warnings from the engineers and was forced to keep the brake temperatures within a reasonable range. Technically, Mercedes is deliberately pushing its limits. Because you can afford it. whodrives in front, determines the pace. Naturally, brake and tire management is easier for him than his colleagues in the field.

The Mercedes W07 was built to drive at the top. Once there, he is unbeatable. When it gets into traffic, the Silver Arrow becomes a completely normal racing car. Because then the inflow for the sensitive aerodynamics no longer fits.

The defending champion aligns his entire weekend with this philosophy. When it was realized in the long runs on Friday that Red Bull and Ferrari could be on a par or even faster in the racing trim, pole position became a must. Mercedes had to push its aerodynamics to the limit and burned off all soft tire compounds. For the race they only had two fresh sets of soft in their backs.

Red Bull and Ferrari tacted in reverse. In addition to a set of Soft, they had saved two sets of Supersoft each. Hoping to compensate for deficits in the car with more glue from the tires. Which didn't help them much in the end. Because Rosberg had the advantage of the leadership position right from the start and couldn't be beaten by undercuts.

In the gallery we show you how much work the Mercedes engineers have invested in the subject of brakes since the beginning of the season.


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