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Start into the unknown: increased risk of crashes in the first few meters

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Start into the unknown
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E do you remember the first race in Austin? At the debut of the US GP in 2012, Ferrari intentionally had a transmission seal opened on Felipe Massa's car so that the Brazilian slipped backwards on the starting grid. Purpose of the story: They wanted Fernando Alonso to be on the clean grid side. The trick worked. Alonso made up ground right away from seventh place and even landed on the podium in the end.

Why are we telling you this story? It's a good example of how the difference between the two sides of the grid is always particularly big on new tracks. There is significantly less grip next to the racing line than on the regular lane. Daniel Ricciardo, who is on the right, left-hand side with an odd starting position in Mexico, even says: 'My fifth place is better than fourth'

Hamilton hopes for Rosberg's slipstream

Lewis Hamilton sees it a little differently. The world champion has to let his team-mate Nico Rosberg go first, but is convinced: '2nd place is better than pole position here.' But Hamilton doesn't have the grip in mind, but the slipstream. The distance from pole position to the first corner is 800 meters - longer than in any other race this season.

'The start will definitely be quite hectic,' Ricciardo fears. 'I hope I get away safely. Halfway to the first corner, however, you don't want to be left without a slipstream. Otherwise you will be easy prey. The first corner is like a bottleneck. It will be very tight.'

Shifts at the start

Carlos Sainz mentioned yet another aspect. 'Because of the long way it makes no sense for the pilots to start on medium tires after the top ten. The disadvantage in terms of grip is so great that you would lose a lot of places.'

Also the engineers rack their brains before the start. 'We don't yet know exactly how to adjust the clutch,' explains Williams driver Valtteri Bottas. Once the car is out of the garage, nothing can be adjusted.

The griphas changed a lot all weekend. So there is a good chance that there will be major shifts in the field in the first few meters, because not everyone will get it right.

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