Toto Wolff’s ‘good news’ as Lewis Hamilton data reveals more on Red Bull pace

by 24britishtvMay 6, 2024, 7 p.m. 25
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Toto Wolff is taking encouragement from the pace shown by Lewis Hamilton on the medium tyre during the Miami Grand Prix.

With Lewis Hamilton having started the race in Miami on the hard tyre, Hamilton’s switch to the medium resulted in pace that matched Red Bull’s Sergio Perez’s laptimes.

Having got the tricky hard tyre out of the way during his first stint, the only driver from the top 10 to have opted for the hards off the grid, Hamilton’s race came alive after he switched to the medium compound for the remainder of the race.

As our data analysis from the Miami Grand Prix revealed, Hamilton’s mean lap time on the medium compound was 1:31.7 over the 25-lap stint. Perez, who ditched the hards under the Safety Car having stopped eight laps previously, also ran the mediums to the end for a 25-lap stint and his mean time was also 1:31.7.

With the W15 matching the pace of the RB20 throughout the second half of the Grand Prix, Wolff was thrilled to see the obvious progress made – even if Hamilton’s pursuit of Perez ended up in defeat as he came home sixth behind the Mexican.

“The good news in our race today was that, like-for-like on the medium tyre, we showed that we had good speed,” Wolff said after the race.

“Lewis was faster than Perez in the Red Bull ahead on the same compound but wasn’t quite able to make the overtake.”

Asked about where he feels the limitations are with the W15, and where the improvements have been made as Mercedes appear to be slowly getting to grips with their new W15, Wolff said: “I think the car is not bouncing anymore, which is good. It was really bad the last few years here.

“The car is very strong at high speed, the ride is a bit better. We’re not on the level of the other ones, the car just doesn’t turn at low speed.

“You don’t want to have a car that is either good at high speed or low speed, you need the two of them, and that’s why it points in some of the right direction.

“It has been a painful learning curve and it’s still not satisfactory but the situation is more encouraging now.”

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Russell, who finished eighth after running the hard tyre for the second stint, said some investigations will be necessary to figure out what went wrong on the harder compound.

“My race today was difficult,” he said.

“I lost a few positions at the start and then in the final stint, I had no pace on the hard tyre and was struggling a lot. We will go away and assess why that was. Our lack of speed was quite unexpected, whilst Lewis had a strong race so there was definite speed in the car.”

Wolff agreed with Russell’s assessment, saying the hard tyre had simply not yielded any performance for Mercedes in comparison to the medium.

“I think George – not George, but the car, struggled with the hard tyre not getting any grip of it and you could see there was not a lot of pace,” he said.

“On the medium, there was much more grip, especially on the second stint with Lewis – he seemed to be quicker than Perez and that was the only benchmark on the medium so that was good.”

Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ engineering director, said it was unfortunate that Hamilton didn’t have a little more straight-line speed to help him in his battle with Perez.

“We knew it was going to be hard to move forward; the car hasn’t been handling well around this track and we’ve struggled in the slower corners particularly,” he said.

“Lewis had a tough stint on the hard but after the restart was much happier with the car on the medium compound.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite have the straight-line speed to get past Perez, but it was good to be able to race him at the end.

“It was a frustrating afternoon for George meanwhile. He was sliding around and struggling to get the tyres to bite. We’ll look into that over the next few days.”

Read Next: Toto Wolff questions Red Bull’s ‘1,000 per cent’ claim over Max Verstappen’s F1 future

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