Mercedes underestimate degradation: 'We tried to push Verstappen'

30-06-2021 17:54 | Updated: 30-06-2021 20:50
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Mercedes underestimate degradation: 'We tried to push Verstappen'

Mercedes again failed to take the victory away from Max Verstappen last weekend in Austria. There were many questions asked by the fans and engineer James Vowles answers them in the Debrief of Mercedes.

Mercedes strategy

Red Bull has now won four races in a row. With another race at the Red Bull Ring this weekend Mercedes will have to try something different to finally win again. During the Styrian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton made a second stop to get the extra point for the fastest lap. Why didn't Mercedes make this stop earlier?

"The problem is that the undercut power there was fairly small, around a second and a half. If you look at this race trace, you can see that relative to Verstappen we fell behind by such a margin that we just weren’t close enough to execute a successful two stop. We could have done, we could have stopped Lewis early on the first stint and then converted to a two stop on the second, but the problem was Verstappen would have been able to cover both times," Vowles said.

No degradation advantage

"What we decided to do instead was look at trying to push so long in the stint, that we were able to potentially take the tyres off a cliff for Verstappen. If we held a degradation advantage, something that we had at races prior to this, maybe we would have been able to force them into an uncomfortable situation." 

Hamilton's pushing forced Verstappen to make a second stop in France, but this also worked out positively for the Dutchman.

"Now, as it turned out, we were pushing really hard during the course of the race and we fell off the tyre curve towards the end of the race as well. It was our best attempt; we were trying to close that gap back to Verstappen such that we could get within undercut range, but by doing so we just didn’t have any tyres left and dropped off," Vowles added.

Softer tyres will be available at next weekend's Austrian GP. "As you saw, a one stop was possible on the two hardest compounds but that may be more challenging as we go into the Austrian Grand Prix," Vowles said.

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