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Tactical check GP England 2018: Ferrari's risk tactic works

Tactics check GP England
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N ormally the Ferrari goes more gently with the Tires around than the Mercedes. But that is not always the case. In the races that speak for Mercedes on paper, Ferrari uses its risk tactics against it. In Bahrain, Spain and now also in England. Then a place on the front row and a fast car on fresh tires is more important than staying power in the race. The car is then tuned accordingly. In these races the rule is reversed: Then the Mercedes better keeps its tires in good shape.

This is also the case at Silverstone: Sebastian Vettel set the pace for 14 laps at the front. His lead over Valtteri Bottas grew to 6.060 seconds. After that, Bottas continuously nibbled behind the Ferrari. Before Vettel pitted on lap 20, it was 4.495 seconds. The Mercedes strategists recognize a certain method: “Vettel flees so far at the front that we cannot tactically do anything with the first pit stop. There is no undercut with the distance. Before things get dangerous, he pits. ”

The game was repeated in the second stint. Vettel started, Bottas followed up. The Ferrari driver's lead grew to 3.855 seconds, then shrank back to 2.069 seconds. The Ferrari ate the left front tire. There were also signs of wear and tear on the rear left. The Silver Arrows got their second breath the longer they drove on their tires. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is convinced: 'Without the safety car we would have caught up with Vettel.'

Ferraris Poker only works well with a top car

Ferrari acts like a gambler, who bet on falling interest rates with borrowed money. In the Silverstone case, things went well. Also because the safety car gave a free pit stop to all those who had changed their tires before lap 24. But it must also be said that Ferraris Poker can only go well if you have an excellent car.

At Mercedes, people are now convinced: “Ferrari has the better engine. When accelerating and at top speed. The engine is less de-rated on the straights and therefore delivers electrical power for longer. ”The latest aero upgrade from Ferrari has closed the disadvantage in the fast corners compared to Mercedes.

The GP England would probably also be It would be an exciting race without the two safety cars. Valtteri Bottas caught up with Vettel. Lewis Hamilton on Kimi Raikkonen and theboth Red Bull. They wanted to protect themselves against the approaching Mercedes with a double strategy. Hamilton was only 7.7 seconds short of the trio. Therefore, Red Bull split the tactic. Max Verstappen was supposed to drive through with a stop, Ricciardo attacked again with a fresh sentence of soft. If Ricciardo had only waited two laps, he would have got his pit stop for free. At Raikkonen it was a good fit.

Marcus Erícsson triggered the safety car with his crash on the 32nd lap. Good for the drivers who, like Vettel, Räikkönen or Verstappen, were under pressure. Good for Fernando Alonso, who had to stop again after his stop on lap 13 and only lost one position behind the safety car on the second tire change. Good for Hamilton, who not only got time, but also two places. Bad for all those who were too close to the safety car in the pits. Another change was no longer worthwhile. Daniel Ricciardo was one of them, as was Nico Hülkenberg, Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen.

Hülkenberg as a locomotive with six wagons

Valtteri Bottas was a borderline case. The Finn had switched from soft to medium in the 21st round. From the tire point of view, a change would have been just as worthwhile as it was for Vettel, who picked up medium rubbers a lap ahead of him. But Ferrari still had a fresh set of soft up its sleeve. Just like Red Bull. Mercedes only had used soft rubbers in their warehouse. “Ferrari and Red Bull speculated on a safety car from the start. For us, the medium was the better racing tire for the second half of the race. A used soft would not have brought any major disadvantages with the short remaining distance, ”said Mercedes.

Mercedes nevertheless decided to leave Bottas on the track. That gave the Finn the lead and a 30 percent chance of winning. “We had to act aggressively,” Toto Wolff defended the strategists. “If we had switched to Bottas, he would have finished second. So there was at least one more chance for us to win the race. ”Niki Lauda agreed:“ The absolutely right decision. ”From the technician's point of view, that sounds technical. “The point here is whether or not you have potentially 7 points. That's 14 points in the difference. If you have a chance to win as a team, you have to seize it. ”

Bottas fought against Vettel with hands and feet. But after six flying laps after the restart, the rear tires on the Mercedes collapsed. “They were all qualifying rounds. I ended up losing more and more traction. Out of the slow corners I was vulnerable. That's why Vettel always tried before turn 6, 'explained Vettel.

A similar scenario emerged in the battle for 6th place. Nico Hülkenberg, with his hard tires, was the locomotive in the train with six wagons behind retired. “All but Hulkenberg had DRS. It was too faston the straight. We really gambled with the soft tires. I was miles faster than the rest of the crowd, but I couldn't get past Magnussen in ages. Had I succeeded earlier, I would have easily finished sixth, ”Alonso summed up.

Hülkenberg was pleased that the tactic with the hard tires worked. Renault was the only team that dared use the concrete tires. They had already tried long runs with it on Friday. 'With soft and medium we would not have managed a one-stop race', Hülkenberg is convinced.


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