The fears of Mercedes engineers is confirmed after Ferrari’s defeat at Suzuka

The team finished almost behind both Ferraris at Suzuka, despite high tire degradation. Mercedes believes Ferrari has taken a significant step forward after both drivers almost won it during the Japanese GP.

   Lewis Hamilton finished just 0.854s ahead of Carlos Sainz after the Ferrari driver ran him down in the closing laps. Charles Leclerc was a further five seconds ahead in fourth on the road, with George Russell 7.4 seconds behind Sainz at one stop.

   Ferrari have historically struggled in races with a lot of tire wear, but were able to challenge Mercedes for pace when they beat the Silver Arrows in Singapore. Director of Track Engineering Andrew Shovlin believes the Scuderia’s recent upgrades, combined with severe tire degradation, exacerbated one of the W14’s weaknesses at Suzuka. “Part of it has to do with temperatures.

   Part of that [tire] degradation is just the tires getting hotter in the first eight laps,” “I think the performance in qualifying, where we have a little less performance in the faster corners, is the same thing that will cost us in the race. Really on this track it’s just a matter of how much grip you have in the fast corners, a lot of it is traction and we seem to be a bit behind on that.

   “[Ferrari] brought in an updated floor, so maybe they moved on. If we look at some of our recent tracks, our advantage in terms of degradation is not as obvious at this point in the season as it was in previous races.”

   Mercedes explains risk-free strategy for Russell Suzuka Mercedes feared that Sainz would pass both Russell and Hamilton at the end, so Russell allowed Hamilton to pass for fifth. Although one stop later led to Russell falling behind Sainz, the team believed it was enough to close the gap on eighth-placed Fernando Alonso.

   “Even though the odds of Sainz going one stop were relatively low, the reason we committed to it was because we had nothing to lose,” Shovlin said. “After one stop from Alonso, there was no danger for George, so we stuck with it. “But it was a difficult strategy and he handled it well. But the grade [of the tire] was just a little too high to make it competitive.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.