Mercedes: F1 tyre concerns triggered early Hamilton stop

Mercedes Formula 1 team trackside engineer director Andrew Shovlin says Lewis Hamilton's early stop in Sochi was triggered by concerns about a sudden drop-off of the soft tyre.

Mercedes: F1 tyre concerns triggered early Hamilton stop
Listen to this article

Hamilton was leading the Russian GP when he was brought in on lap 16 to switch to the hard tyres for the run to the flag.

The team knew that he had to serve a 10-second time penalty for his practice start infringements, and thus also factored in where he would come out in traffic.

Both before and after his stop Hamilton questioned its timing – only Renault's Daniel Ricciardo ditched the soft tyre earlier – but Shovlin insists that there were sound strategic reasons for the stop, which came a full 10 laps before that of Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas.

"The rear left was the limit on his car," said Shovlin. "There was very little rubber left on it, so it would have done one or two laps.

"What we notice here is actually the drivers don't lose a lot of grip until you get down to the under layer of the tyre, and then you lose a lot of grip. So when it drops, it's quite sudden.

"And with the penalty, you're looking a long way back actually at the cars that you're racing, but as soon as you drop, then they're going to start being able to sort of undercut you effectively. And that that was the big reason – it was principally what was going on behind him.

"He was down to one or two more laps on that tyre. And then you would have found that the field, especially any cars that were on the medium, would start to be actually gaining race time on you. So it's just about minimising the number of cars that you're subsequently going to have to pass."

Read Also:

Shovlin said that Mercedes hadn't expected to have a clear advantage over main rivals Red Bull in Russia.

"We didn't really go to a circuit saying 'we think we're going to be really good here' because often it's not a function of what we're doing," he noted. "It's the pace of other people. And our car seems to work pretty well most places.

"I know Red Bull was saying, 'this is a Mercedes circuit.' It may be a bit that it doesn't suit their car. We're not really sure why we had good pace. And I think the race pace was strong, Lewis's pace in qualifying was very strong.

"Those C5 tyres, the softest compounds, are not the easiest one to get the lap together, and to get everything in the right window.

"And Valtteri struggled in qualifying with that in particular. I don't think it really cost him, because third on the grid is pretty competitive, it's very equivalent to second arguably a bit better. But the car has been pretty good here."

shares
comments

Related video

Albon's sensitivity exposed by Sochi F1 layout - Horner
Previous article

Albon's sensitivity exposed by Sochi F1 layout - Horner

Next article

Russia my "strongest race" in F1 2020 until pitstop - Ocon

Russia my "strongest race" in F1 2020 until pitstop - Ocon
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022