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Long run analysis: Hamilton back in the mix but Verstappen has more to give

Long run analysis: Hamilton back in the mix but Verstappen has more to give

1 July - 18:30

The first day of running in the British Grand Prix weekend is complete. It looks as though Ferrari have a slight advantage, though it's important to note that Red Bull look like they are hiding some extra speed. Mercedes seem to be back in the mix, though perhaps not on the level to win the event at Silverstone. 

Mercedes Upgrades 

The Mercedes upgrades are very visible. When the car rolled out of the garage for the second pre-season test in Bahrain, jaws dropped to the floor as they revealled the zero side pod design. That pilosophy remains in place, but jaws dropped again when Mercedes revealled the floor of their car in Silverstone. There are a lot of indents, waves and cuts on the side of the floor as they look to keep the airflow underneath the car under control. 

The smooth tarmac at Siverstone also helps. On Baku's street circuit, Mercedes porpoising was at its worse with drivers recording 10g of vertical impacts. The tough surface didn't help Russell and Hamilton's problems. During Friday's FP2 session at Silverstone, Hamilton had understeer on his fastest lap. Compared to Verstappen, the Brit was fighting with the steering wheel a lot more. This caused him to be down on acceleration through the first sector. 

Ferrari took the honours on all three best sector times, with Sainz going purple in sector one and three. Leclerc got the purple time in sector two. With the ultimate lap times, Ferrari also claimed P1 and P2 with Verstappen behind Norris and Hamilton. The onboard footage of Verstappen showed he was fairly relaxed and not really attacking the famous maggots and becketts corners. This probably shows Red Bull have a lot more time. 

Best sectors 

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Long runs

The long runs were delayed for most as the teams and drivers played catch up from a wet FP1 session. Only with less than 15 minutes to go did all drivers switch across the qualifying runs, with Hamilton being one of the last drivers to complete a quick lap. That lap was the time that moved him up to P2 in the standings. Therefore, the long run data isn't 100% validated, but it does show some interesting signs. 

The first thing to note is the little difference between the three compounds. The soft and medium show absolutely no different, with the hard tyre only being half-a-second slower. These indications suggest Mercedes are much closer to their rivals than previous. This confirming what Shovlin suggested in his interview after the second free practice session. Ferrari seem to have a very slight edge on Red Bull, but it seems as if Red Bull have a lot more to give. 

Driver Average Long run pace Tyre
Sainz 1:33.7 Soft
Verstappen 1:33.8 Soft
Leclerc 1:33.7 Medium
Hamilton 1:33.8 Medium
Russell 1:34.3 Hard

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