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Mercedes loses home game: Hamilton second after starting crash

Mercedes loses its home game
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D he GP England was a race in several acts. The starting line-up already anticipated the story: two Mercedes against two Ferraris. Red Bull was just a marginal phenomenon. In the end, the two World Cup candidates were staggered as follows: Ferrari-Mercedes-Ferrari-Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Räikkönen his compatriot Valtteri Bottas. The decisive factors were the collision between Hamilton and Raikkonen on the first lap, the safety car and Mercedes' tactic to let both cars on the track. “In retrospect, it was wrong for Valtteri, absolutely right for Lewis,” said team boss Toto Wolff.

The Mercedes front man also said: “If we had changed tires with Valtteri, he would have finished second behind Vettel. We used an aggressive strategy because it was the only chance for Bottas to win the race. At that time, the position on the track was more important than the opportunity to change tires for free. ”The engineers calculated:“ Without a pit stop, Valtteri had a 30 percent chance of victory. With a pit stop zero percent. It's about 14 points or not. The risk must be worth it. He would not have overtaken Vettel on new soft tires on used soft tires. ”Unlike Ferrari and Red Bull, Mercedes had not saved any fresh soft sets for the race. 'Even if we had had them, the decision at the command post wouldn't have been any different,' confirmed Wolff.

Mercedes has a problem with the starts

Silverstone was a home game for Mercedes. If the Silver Arrow is built for one route, then this one. But even the close training result showed that Ferrari has caught up. In all disciplines. “They have more power than we do,” says Niki Lauda, ​​taking responsibility for the motorists. The third part of the aero upgrade also closed the gap in the fast corners to Mercedes. In addition: Ferrari has had more constant starts since the Canadian GP. “They had better starts than us every time with both cars. That has a technical background, ”says engineers. Wolff names the parameters: “Engine power, clutch, usability, operation by the driver.” Only pole man Hamilton had something to reproach himself for. He got off a little worse than Bottas and fell behind Vettel and his teammates on the way to the first braking point in Turn 3.

This also increased the chancesgetting involved in a startup crash. Raikkonen braked himself, rushed into the rear of the Mercedes and turned it around. 'My mistake. But something like that happens in the crowd at the start ”, the Finn shrugged his shoulders. Hamilton came back in 18th place from the first lap. So he could be happy to get a double-digit score at all. Hamilton spoke not only to the person who caused the accident: “We have to work hard to ensure that we do not expose ourselves to such situations that we are no longer a target for the red cars. That can only mean that in the future we have to put both cars in the front row in order to be closed in front of the two Ferraris. ”

Hamilton was referring to the French GP two weeks ago, where Vettel took the Mercedes von Bottas had met. “The accidents with the Ferrari in the first corner are getting on my nerves. After all, the stewards have learned. Ten seconds for Kimi is a fairer penalty than five for Vettel in France. Lewis's race was ruined anyway. Without the accident he could have won. We had to beat the Speed ​​Ferrari ”, Lauda scolded

Right, leaving Hamilton on the track

The incident at Turn 3 was actually the fatal blow for Hamilton's dreams of the sixth Silverstone Victory. After five laps the Englishman was 24.3 seconds behind in 11th place. Five laps later he was sixth, 27.4 seconds behind leader Vettel. This cannot be made up under normal conditions. But then the safety car gave him a hand after Marcus Ericsson's accident and even gave Hamilton a tiny chance of victory. On lap 25 he switched to medium tires, which should hold out to the end without any problems.

The safety car gave the Mercedes driver three places. The question of whether a pit stop or not did not arise. “It was absolutely the right decision for me,” praised Hamilton. At the restart he sat in the first row in the middle when Vettel and Bottas fought for the lead. But he couldn't benefit from it. Vettel also had DRS. The Ferraris were on par on the straights, if not faster. And Vettel had the fresher and softer tires for the final.

That was the decisive factor in the duel with Bottas. The medium tires on the Finn's Mercedes had 12 more laps on the tread than the soft rubbers from Vettel. “After the restart I was able to keep Seb behind me quite well. The tires still felt pretty good. But I had to do qualifying laps every lap. And then that went on the tires. My traction is getting worse and worse, and Seb has caught up more and more out of the slow corners. To be honest, I didn't expect his attack at the moment. He hadn't tried it this way in the previous rounds. I would have been due anyway, had already driven the battle line before Turn 6 in the laps before. Yetblocking further in would have been too big a compromise for the following corners. The tires then deteriorated more and more. Lewis and Kimi also had an easy time of it. ”

While the Safety Car gave Hamilton a podium, Bottas stole this podium. “Just as he made up ground on Vettel in the first stint, so it was in the second section. Vettel was already fully in tire management when Valtteri got closer, ”explained Wolff. The left front tire in particular collapsed on the Ferrari. The Austrian did not want to judge whether it would have been enough: “That is a calculation with two ifs.” The fact is: Ferrari had set up its car in such a way that it had an advantage over Mercedes with fresh tires. That's what you paid for at the end of the stints. That was factored in. Vettel lost the lead due to the safety car, but in the end he had to be grateful that the cards were reshuffled. That gave the Ferrari a two-stop tactic.


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