W is Ferrari's victory in Malaysia a flash in the pan? Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene does not hope. 'We are sticking to our season goal of three wins.' Most recently, the Silver Arrows' lead over Ferrari seemed to have grown again. Sebastian Vettel was 49.9 seconds off the winner in Canada. It was 18.1 seconds at the Red Bull Ring.
Both races had something in common. Montreal and Spielberg are power routes. A good interaction between aerodynamics and mechanics is required. So stable downforce, traction, braking stability, good top speed. Pirelli brought the 'soft' and 'supersoft' tire compounds to both races. Both Grand Prix were basically one-stop races. Ferrari forced Vettel to drive with two stops in Canada. That was due to the bad starting position due to technical problems in training.
Damage was done in the first stint
In more detail Looking through the lap times, it is noticeable that Ferrari was not as far from the Silver Arrows as the deficit at the finish line suggested. The damage was done in both races in the first stint. Both times on the supersoft tire. With the harder mixture, Vettel was always with the music. For the most part even faster than the Mercedes.
The doubters will say: Mercedes had to save fuel, take care of the brakes and took it easy in the second half of the race. Ferrari also has to save fuel and protect the brakes. With a view to the life of the engine, Vettel is not allowed to drive in power mode at will. At this level there is a tie.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fought for victory in Canada until the last round. Vettel had to pass Nico Hülkenberg and Pastor Maldonado. That took time. So quite comparable conditions.
Same game in Austria. Nico Rosberg was able to take it easy for Hamilton after the penalty. But Vettel was stuck behind Felipe Massa between laps 63 and 71. The third place in the World Championship could not be as fast as he wanted either.
Vettel's hour struck in the second half of the race
When comparing Vettel and the faster Mercedes driver, it is noticeable that the Ferrari has its weak phase at the beginning of the race, when it is difficult and with the driven onesSupersoft tire is on the way. This improves in the middle section as the amount of petrol decreases and the grip on the track increases. From the middle of the race, Vettel drives as fast as the Mercedes, if not faster. After reviewing all the data, this is also confirmed by Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles.
Let's take Montreal. Vettel was on super soft tires for the first seven laps. He didn't win a single lap against Hamilton and lost 19.6 seconds on top. Okay, he was stuck in traffic and Hamilton had a clear run. It got a little better on fresh soft tires until the middle of the race. In a segment of 28 laps, the Ferrari driver drove 8 times faster than the front runner. That's 29 percent. The gap increased by 18.5 seconds from 19.6 to 38.1 seconds until the second pit stop.
From lap 36, Vettel and Hamilton were on their last set of tires. Vettel on a used soft set, Hamilton on a fresh one. The pursuer won 24 of the remaining 35 laps, which is 69 percent. The gap shrank by 7.7 seconds.
Vettel 74 percent faster than Rosberg
The Austrian GP confirmed the picture. Of the first 31 laps at racing speed (without the safety car) on the supersoft tires, only three went to Ferrari in the Fernduell Vettel against Rosberg. That's a measly 10 percent. The gap was 12.4 seconds before Rosberg's pit stop. Vettel had a free run in this phase.
Vettel entered the second half of the race 26.2 seconds behind the leading Mercedes. Both now had new soft tires on the car. Until the checkered flag on lap 71, Vettel made up 8.0 seconds. 26 of 35 rounds went to him. That's 74 percent.
Vettel also did better against Hamilton. 22 rounds belonged to him, 13 Hamilton. And the Englishman had to attack because of his five-second penalty. Mercedes thought about making a safety stop in the event of a late safety car.
It is astonishing that Ferrari feels more comfortable on the harder of the two tires. It was actually thought that the tires couldn't be soft enough for the SF-15T. But the 2015 Supersoft can no longer be compared with its predecessor. Many teams complain of difficulties with the type of tire.
Ferrari only ever fast on the 'wrong' tire
When analyzing all races, one thing is noticeable: Ferrari always drives fast and on the same level from Mercedes if the tire type does not match the external conditions. The 'soft' compound is a tire for high temperatures. It works at 100 to 125 degrees. But whenever the Ferraris flew on this type of tire, it was relatively cool. In Bahrain, 30 degrees were measured on the asphalt, in Monaco 31 degrees, in Montreal 35 degrees and in Spielberg 24 degrees.
The same phenomenon can be seen with the othersOptions. In Malaysia the asphalt temperature was 61 degrees. Ferrari brought Mercedes to its knees, especially on the medium tire. However, it works best at low temperatures. Its working range is 90 to 120 degrees.
Ferrari suffered a bad setback in Barcelona, but was stronger on the medium rubber compared to Mercedes than on the hard compound. It was hot in Barcelona too. The asphalt heated up to 50 degrees.
Ferrari Capo Arrivabene refuses to accept the tires as an excuse for slow or fast lap times. He asks the engineers: 'We have to be fast with every type of tire and under all conditions.'