Ferrari's PS trick: The magical six seconds

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Ferrari's PS trick
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W if Lewis Hamilton loses, then he pours like to take his heart out. Then he doesn't care about the official language. Then you have to get out what has built up in him. Ferrari's advantage came as a shock. The superiority had already been indicated in Hockenheim and Budapest, but at Hamilton the alarm bells only burned on the back burner. He had won both races. So it's all good. But it wasn't. Spa showed Hamilton and Mercedes where Ferrari really stands. The Silver Arrows had no chance in the race.

The focus of interest was on two scenes. Vettel's overtaking maneuver on the starting lap on the Kemmel Straight and Hamilton's failed attempt five laps later after the restart. Once the Ferrari flew past the Mercedes seemingly effortlessly. And in the opposite case, the Mercedes didn't even come close to its opponent.

Hamilton summarized his impressions from the cockpit: “Ferrari is faster on the straights. Seb drove past me like I wasn't there. They have a few tricks on the car, anything that makes them faster on the straights. We've been watching this for four races. It's just power. You can get more electrical power than we can between La Source and Eau Rouge. And they take this momentum with them up the long straight. ”

When someone insinuated to Hamilton that Ferrari fished in the gray area of ​​the regulations, the world champion quickly improved:“ I said trick. That's a word for doing something special. ”

Vettel had the worst top speed

Mercedes itself downplayed the issue of engine performance. Just do not give the impression that Ferrari is assuming something illegal. Just don't point your finger at the engine department. A racing car is a complete package. Aerodynamics also play a role in top speed.

Ferrari has an efficient car. And this time the red cars were trimmed for less downforce than the Mercedes. Unfortunately, the Ferrari was just as fast as the Mercedes in the second sector despite less downforce in the race.

And Ferrari may point to the top speed. Vettel was the slowest in the field on Sunday at 320.6 km /h. Hamilton was at least 7th with 334.4 km /h. That has to do with slipstream and DRS, of course. Only those who have a car in front of them in the second part of the straight and are allowed to open the rear wing come like ValtteriBottas to 345.0 km /h. Vettel drove the whole race without slipstream and without DRS.

You have to look at the two duels between the World Cup candidates in detail and compare them with 2017, when a similar constellation came up. Only then does it become clear to you that there is something that cannot easily be explained in terms of sheer engine power or aerodynamics.

The moment Hamilton and Vettel pass the curb behind the crest of the Radillion, six seconds follow, in which the Ferrari goes off like a rocket. And in both cases DRS was disabled. The man behind only had the advantage of the slipstream, which was bigger than normal because of the headwind on the straight.

Ferrari goes off like a rocket

Review of 2017. Vettel comes perfectly from La Source. He's hanging Hamilton down the mountain and through Eau Rouge in the gearbox. Hamilton takes off the gas a little, but according to the engine sound that has little effect on Vettel. Behind the knoll, Vettel begins to benefit from the slipstream and quickly sits next to Hamilton. But the Ferrari is hardly halfway up when it runs out of breath. At that time, Hamilton's Mercedes was trimmed to a touch less downforce. Which could explain a lot.

Jerry André
When Lewis Hamilton accelerates up the mountain, the Ferrari behind it suddenly ignites the afterburner.

Now the comparison to 2018. Starting round: Not Hamilton is bad from La Source, but Vettel. You can see how Vettel corrects when he shifts into fourth gear. Slippage can be clearly heard. Hamilton also wins a few meters. This distance remains constant through Eau Rouge. Around 20 meters to the summit of Radillion.

Then the Ferrari begins to sniff the Mercedes as if pulled by a rope. Even when he's long out of the slipstream. The engine sound increases again slightly, although both drivers have shifted to the highest gear before the dip and the speed remains almost constant.

The Ferrari flies past the Mercedes within 6 seconds. And even then it cannot be captured more than it is more than a full car lengthis in front. The opposite of 2017. You could now argue that slipstream and headwind helped the attacker. But why doesn't Hamilton benefit five laps later?

The traction from La Source is not optimal with the Mercedes, but Hamilton is not much further behind Vettel than before. But he doesn't even make it to the height of the Ferrari behind the hill. On the contrary: The same phenomenon is taking place in the Ferrari as before. He has his strong six seconds again. Both cars are then the same at top speed.

A trick for every lap

Mercedes has been observing this characteristic of the Ferrari since the Austrian GP. It is now believed that it has to do with smart energy management. Ferrari somehow feeds its electrical power in other portions or wrestles more power from the internal combustion engine in certain phases than you are able to do yourself. because Mercedes, like Ferrari, has already drawn the trump card of the third engine specification. “There is still enough leeway in terms of gasoline, oil, software and the calibration of the engine.”

Mercedes does not want to believe in a better aerodynamic efficiency of the Ferrari as the only explanation: “We would on every straight from Feel the beginning to the end. We observe power surges in very specific passages at precisely defined times. That speaks in favor of a deliberately chosen use of performance. ”Apparently, Ferrari can only call up what Hamilton helplessly but effectively referred to as a“ trick ”once per lap. However, on every lap, if there is a need.

What makes the whole thing even more strange is that strange sound that the Ferrari engine sometimes makes when accelerating. A loud screeching. Viewer videos of the unusual noise have already made the rounds on social media. Only once per lap. And at one point that varies from time to time.

Unfortunately, this noise is not necessarily the prelude to the mysterious power play. It is often observed in other places. It would be too nice if the time coincided.

Originally, the competition believed that Ferrari would open the wastegate valve during this phase, which would mean that one would forego the power to the MGU-H to produce. But that doesn't actually make any sense.

Mercedes engine manager Andy Cowell doesn't believe in the wastegate theory. “The frequency of the noise speaks against it. It has to be some other valve in the area of ​​the turbocharger. ”If the experts are at a loss, they can continue to puzzle. Perhaps you, dear readers, have a good idea. Write to us.

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