How did Hamilton manage to overtake Verstappen so easily in Portugal?

04-05-2021 13:21 | Updated: 04-05-2021 14:18
by GPblog.com
F1 News
How did Hamilton manage to overtake Verstappen so easily in Portugal?

The margins between the top were again small during the Portuguese Grand Prix. The battles for victory and also pole position came down to the smallest details. Bad exits, track limits, and Lewis Hamilton just missed Valtteri Bottas by 7 thousandths on Saturday.

High and low rake

So the greater the surprise was to see how easy it was for Hamilton to overtake Max Verstappen during the race. For the latter, it was a lot harder to keep up with a Mercedes with DRS. Gary Anderson has an explanation: "From the start of this season we have heard a lot about cars with high or low rake and this also plays a part in top speed. If you lower the rear of a car, you reduce the drag, so why doesn't Red Bull lower it just that little bit?"

Anderson says he has an answer for that too: "Red Bull doesn't lower it because the team believes the concept of high rake is better for overall performance. Mercedes believes the same with its low-rake concept, and as we've seen many times before, a good lap time is crucial," he told The-Race.com.

Crucial to championship

This difference in rake also changes the airflow the cars leave behind, and this is crucial according to Anderson. "A car following a Mercedes will struggle to overtake, even with DRS, but a car following a Red Bull will have the benefit of that extra traction and be able to race past with DRS. These qualities could prove crucial in the battle for the world championship. Hamilton and Verstappen have fought wheel-to-wheel battles in all three races so far, meaning any advantage in overtaking or defending on straights is more significant than in recent years."

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