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Mercedes worked 'tirelessly' to asses Hamilton's strategy

  • Published on 08 Aug 2019 09:06
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes says it worked "tirelessly" behind the scenes during the Hungarian Grand Prix, to see if a two-stop strategy was feasible.

The team ultimately opted to pit the Briton for a second time, which saw him charge to overtake Max Verstappen for the race win in the final laps of the race.

Mercedes admits that it was hampered by a lack of data as Friday running was partly wet, but that it pulled together all of its information to make the decision to pit Hamilton. 

"Going into the race we had less data than normal due to the wet running on Friday," said the chief strategist James Vowles on Mercedes Pure Pit Wall debrief.

"No one had long run the Hard tyre, run it with fuel to understand how the wear, the degradation and how it would progress in the race. And that creates a lot of unknows.

"Everyone went into the race, ourselves included, with the intention of one-stopping. It is incredibly difficult to overtake in Budapest, and the tyres should make it based on our forecasts of life.

"As we went in it was clear there was no undercut opportunity, our next plan was to offset ourselves on tyres relative to Verstappen. And then force him into a situation where he is using his Hard tyre resource as much as possible, and maybe put him off the curve.

"As Verstappen and Lewis started to pull away from the field, it became obvious that other opportunities existed, which in our case, was a two-stop. We have a team behind the scenes that are working tirelessly.

"They took the morsels of data from Friday, the little running that we had, and constructed models as to how our tyres and Verstappen’s tyres would perform during the race.

"And they were spot on. It is those models that enable us to understand that two-stop would very much lead to a fantastic situation at the end of the race, and that Verstappen’s tyres should drop off the curve if we can pressure him enough.

Vowles added that Mercedes had a "mountain to climb" after the stop, but that it forced Verstappen into pushing harder on already worn tyres. 

"Once we had committed and pitted Lewis, it was clear that there was this huge mountain to climb. We had twenty seconds of race time that we had to make up, and then we had to overtake Verstappen at the end of the race.

"Lewis, rightly so, had concerns about that but every lap he delivered the lap time we needed in order to do that.

"It caused Verstappen to have to respond and fight hard and use the tyre he had available to him to pull that gap further, but it was with no avail, ultimately, he fell off the tyre curve, as the team predicted, and we ended up with the win."

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