D the first act of the GP Germany had itself Mercedes presented differently. Ferrari put its cars on grid positions 1 and 3, and the analysis of the lap times confirmed a trend that first appeared quietly in Canada and then all the more dramatically from the Austrian GP. Ferrari is gaining massive amounts of time on the straights and is the new benchmark in the engine sector. That makes Mercedes think. Team boss Toto Wolff speaks of a “serious wake-up call”.
Lewis Hamilton is convinced that he could have taken pole position despite the performance deficit. At the moment Sebastian Vettel's rival is still in 14th place on the grid, if the hydraulic defect does not result in consequential damage overnight. The transmission survived after a first check. The engine too. But that was what Valtteri Bottas thought after his failure in Spielberg, until it was discovered that the drive unit had been operated at too high a temperature for 45 seconds as a result of the hydraulic defect.
Same problem as in Austria?
At first glance, Hamilton himself appeared to have caused the hydraulic problem. He had slipped over the curb at Turn 1 and onto the grass from there. When returning to the track, the number 44 Mercedes hit the ground several times and made a mighty leap in the air before landing on the asphalt. After the damage analysis, the chronological sequence of events absolved the driver of his guilt.
On the previous lap, the engineers had already seen a suspicious peak on the screen in the hydraulic system. When driving over the curb at the exit of the curve, the pressure suddenly fell into the cellar. This meant that the power steering no longer worked. “The steering suddenly felt hard. I turned right, but the car turned left. At first I thought of a puncture or a broken tie rod. So I had to drive back onto the track through the meadow, ”reported Hamilton. When he couldn't shift gears shortly afterwards, qualification for the World Cup runner-up was over. In desperation, Hamilton wanted to push his car back into the pits, which was a hopeless undertaking given his position at Turn 10. “I just didn't want to admit it, I wanted to get the car into the pits as quickly as possible. This is the fighter in me. When I got back to the boxes, it was clear to me:The others suffer as much as I do. We win and lose together. ”
A closer examination of the defect is still pending. But Toto Wolff does not want to rule out that the hydraulic leak has causes similar to the problems in Austria. The hydraulic line locked with three screws inside the steering column had vibrated loose. And that with both cars. At Hamilton, a defect in the fuel pump preceded the hydraulic disease. Stronger vibrations due to higher cornering speeds and thus higher forces on curbs were identified as a possible reason for the problem, which was never before.
Hamilton wants to copy Ricciardo's optimism
Hamilton wants to be in the Unlike Daniel Ricciardo, he has not yet decided where his drive from 14th on the grid could take him. Ricciardo expects at least 6th place. 'Daniel is a super optimistic person', smiled Hamilton pained. “I'll try to be just as optimistic as he is.” But in the next breath, the champion judged overtaking on the Hochenheimring to be difficult. Despite three DRS areas, despite an extension of the long DRS zone on the Parabolika Straight by 110 meters. Ricciardo, on the other hand, said cheerfully: “You can overtake in corners 2 and 6.”
Normally, all drivers should be up to 7th place for Hamilton Kanonenfutter. Nevertheless, the Englishman doubts: “I was able to ride full attack at Silverstone because I didn't have to worry about the tires. The tires could blister here. We saw that on Friday. So I have to be more careful with the tires. It will be a balanced, aggressive race. ”Then the three-time winner of the season came back to Ferrari's miraculous power development:“ Who loses three tenths on the straight. This is a new experience for us. We're not looking for excuses, we just have to work harder. ”
No excuses for Ferrari's engine miracle
Wolff even quantified Ferrari's advantage in the full throttle passages to five tenths. “I don't want to start like Christian Horner to blame the speed on the straight. But for a few races we have noticed that this is exactly where we are losing. And it was never as clear as here in Hockenheim. We look good in all the corners, we can't do anything to oppose Ferrari on the straights at the moment. ”In fact, the GPS curves showed what had already been noticed at Silverstone and at the Red Bull Ring. From a speed of 200 km /h, the Ferrari drive pushes up to top speed with a constant performance delta compared to Mercedes.
Wolff warns against thinking in the first reflex that something is not going well. “We have to grab our own nose and find out how we can get more power out of the combustion engine and feed in more power from the electric motor. It would be wrong to follow an automatism and thatTo accuse opponents of wrong play. ”On the other hand, it is strange that Ferrari has achieved such a significant performance within one race to another. At Mercedes, an increase of 28 kilowatts (38 hp) has been calculated. “That is a value for which you need two years with normal development. On the other hand: If Ferrari was able to show that in such a short time, we have to be able to do it too. ”