After Lewis Hamilton’s moment of wheelspin at the start of the 2018 Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Mercedes is now working hard to understand where they are losing out to the Ferraris in the initial sequence.
In their usual post-race Pure PitWall debrief – this time with Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin, he said that the team is looking into the data to understand where its drivers are missing on to the Ferrari drivers, which is resulting in a slightly slower starts.
The British GP saw Hamilton lose two places to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas after which he came in contact with Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 3 – had he made a proper start, he would have led away nicely and not had the collision with the Finn.
With one week break in hand, Mercedes is putting in more effort in the factory to improve their starts and match up or better it from Ferrari. “The simple answer is we got some wheelspin,” said Shovlin. “There was a bit less grip on the grid than we were expecting.
“We had done practice starts there, Silverstone they do actually let you do a start from the grid, but for some reason on Sunday we didn’t quite have what we expected and as soon as you get the wheelspin you lose traction. That then lost him places pretty quickly.
“So, we are doing a lot of work here this week trying to understand that because we know fine well that if we qualify on pole, we have got to get off the line as well as the Ferraris and that’s what we will be trying to do in Hockenheim.”
Shovlin also cleared the air on why Hamilton was complaining on the radio for a possible damage to his car when spun around by Raikkonen. The British driver continued to talk about a damage to his floor and rear, which wasn’t the case.
It was in fact the dirty air from the cars he was following which made the car unstable to drive around but once in the clear air, he was able to set faster times to catch his rivals. “We didn’t really have much damage at all.
“It was quite a big impact and we were pretty lucky to get away with it. The reality though is you heard Lewis complaining about damage to his floor, we thought there might’ve been some aerodynamic damage.
“But, that was actually just from running in the turbulent air of all those cars ahead when he was having to fight through. It was only actually when he got into clear air and he could feel what the car was like.
“We could see his pace, that we were able to really understand that the damage was actually very, very minimal.” Meanwhile, on the strategy front, Shovlin once again made it clear as to why they opted to keep Bottas out.
He revealed that the Finn was fine with the call in the debriefs as the whole idea was to get track position and have a fighting chance because had he pitted like Vettel did, he would have come out behind the German.