Mercedes problems: tire puzzle not yet solved

Mercedes problems
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N after the victory in Monte Carlo, the trees at Mercedes will continue to grow for a long time not in the sky. Lewis Hamilton landed on the podium under his own steam at the Canadian GP, ​​but that is no indication that Mercedes has deciphered the tire puzzle. The speed was right, but the circumstances were also favorable. And there were signs that there are still gaps in understanding in the details. You just don't stand completely in the forest anymore.

Montreal doesn't kill tires

The last two races took place on racetracks instead, which are rather simple from a tire management perspective. One-stop races were possible in both Monte Carlo and Montreal. In both cases the majority of drivers switched twice. Mercedes was in the majority. After all. That was worse before.

In one way, Montreal was more complicated than Monte Carlo. Here Mercedes couldn't simply go at a slow pace like in Monaco. That will be punished immediately on the long straights of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had to accelerate as best they could. In the Hamilton case it was enough to finish third, just 1.5 seconds behind Fernando Alonso, who finished second.

Mercedes in the race with problems

That is the positive news. The bad thing is that Sebastian Vettel had a lead of 15.9 seconds at the finish and, because of his big lead, did not drive every lap at the limit. In principle, the two cars are equal. Mercedes shows this again and again in training. Despite a major mistake in the target curve, Hamilton was only 0.087 seconds slower than Vettel in his fastest qualifying lap. So the speed is there. Just not the stamina.

The difference in the race to Red Bull is determined solely by the tires. Mercedes also has to make people think that Alonso was exactly 12 seconds behind Hamilton in the 32nd lap. The Spaniard had barely passed Nico Rosberg when he made up 13.5 seconds on Hamilton in 38 laps. 'It was sometimes a second faster. We're still missing in front and back,' complained Rosberg. For one lap the Ferrari is definitely the slower car. In the distance, however, it is much faster. This is also due to tire management alone.

Uncertainty costs lap time

Safety in handling the tires can help Mercedes stillbe out of the question. As in Monte Carlo, Hamilton took the race far too slowly. After 14 laps, the Englishman was 7.9 seconds behind Vettel. On lap 15 he drove faster for the first time. Well, the Mercedes driver could stay three laps longer than Vettel on the track, but was that necessary? It looks like Hamilton gave up time in the beginning just to meet a certain target.

Vettel was also initially prepared for a one-stop race, but he made an attack. And when the rear tires collapsed on lap 15, he was in the pits on lap 16. Hamilton has not gained anything by driving longer. The primal fear still resonates here that the tires could be burned out too early.

Maybe it's not like that. It would be worth trying to find out. In the 14th round, Rosberg got another set of Supersoft on the trip. A mistake that ultimately blocked all chances of a podium for the Monaco winner. 'The question is whether we couldn't have understood better before the race that the hard one in the tire is much better in the long run,' Rosberg mused afterwards. The only excuse for Mercedes: Ferrari made the same wrong decision with Felipe Massa.

Silverstone will show the truth

Silverstone will show how good Mercedes tire management really is and whether you have learned anything from the ominous Barcelona test. This circuit is comparable to Barcelona because of its many fast and long curves. And it was there that Mercedes experienced its biggest crash to date. 'I don't have any worries, but I have concerns. We still have to take one step before then,' said Rosberg.

It will be interesting to see which of the two drivers can do better with their tires there. We guess Rosberg. Why? Take a look at the races so far. Wherever traction is the decisive criterion, Hamilton got on better with the tires. Australia, Bahrain, China, Canada. Apparently the Englishman uses the right pedal more sensitively when accelerating.

In the fast corners of Sepang and Barcelona, ​​Rosberg had a better sense of what he can just expect from the tires without them reaching over 160 Heat up degrees. 'It's much more difficult than controlling the slip,' explains team principal Ross Brawn. 'In fast corners, the driver has practically no clue as to where the tire limit is. When accelerating, you can feel whether the rear tires are spinning.'


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