Mercedes explains set-up call key to Hamilton's Portimao win

Mercedes has explained the set-up call that led to Lewis Hamilton's dominant victory in Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix that saw him break Formula 1's all-time win record.

Mercedes explains set-up call key to Hamilton's Portimao win

Hamilton swept to his 92nd career victory after recovering from a poor start in low grip conditions to pass teammate Valtteri Bottas during the first stint, before going on to win the race by over 25 seconds.

Hamilton said after the race that he had placed a particular focus on race set-up at Portimao after struggling through much of the weekend in the low grip conditions, with cooler weather conditions and some spots of rain also making the start more difficult.

Mercedes F1 trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin explained after the race that a decision was made to use a wing level that offered Hamilton and Bottas more downforce from Saturday onwards.

Shovlin said the set-up direction taken by Hamilton aided his tyre management and warm-up, which proved particularly decisive against Bottas. The Finn's pace faded towards the end of the opening stint, leaving him nine seconds off his teammate in the lead ahead of the pitstops.

"On Saturday morning, we tried two different wing levels," Shovlin explained. "We'd started the weekend with a lighter wing, and I think it was definitely the right decision to go for.

"The more downforce would have helped us today, and whether the drops of rain would have turned into a proper shower.

"But [Hamilton is] more talking about how he got the balance of the car to sort of use the tyres not be too hard on either end. Qualifying was really all about warm-up, getting the temperature there.

"In the race, it's the left-hand-side tyres that get a hammering here, and just not working the front or the rear too much, because then the balance starts to get away from you.

"Lewis is just naturally good at managing the tyres. He's got this really good feel for where he's hurting them. And he's able to keep the rubber on them."

Read Also:

Bottas had a request to take soft tyres for the second stint of the race turned down by Mercedes, who kept him on the identical strategy to Hamilton by giving him a set of hards.

While Bottas had reported a vibration on his tyres that meant he had to pit, Hamilton said his mediums felt in good shape, and that he could have gone further into the race before pitting.

After their stops, Bottas then saw the gap to Hamilton grow after he encountered lapped cars when exiting the pits, causing him to back off and fail to get his tyres up to temperature.

"I think the key thing here is the tyre temperature, because if you can generate temperature, your grip goes up," Shovlin explained.

"We spend 90% of races where we've actually got too much of it, and it's a case of trying to keep the tyres cool, but you're in the opposite situation here in these cold conditions made worse with a bit of light rain kicking around.

"It was most evident on that hard tyre transition. So Lewis actually got it to work quite well, quite quickly. Valtteri dropped into some backmarker traffic, which meant he was having to run at their pace, not the natural pace, and at that point, there was about 10 degrees of difference in the tyre temperature.

"You can see that it was manifesting itself as near enough a second of lap time. So the key is all in that temperature difference."

shares
comments

Related video

What the first look at 2021's F1 aero rules tells us
Previous article

What the first look at 2021's F1 aero rules tells us

Next article

Vettel trusts Ferrari giving him same F1 car as Leclerc

Vettel trusts Ferrari giving him same F1 car as Leclerc
Load comments
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022