Mercedes ramps up effort to match Ferrari's super starts

The Mercedes Formula 1 team says it is doing "a lot of work" at its Brackley factory this week in a bid to help it match the super starts that rival Ferrari is delivering.

While the German car manufacturer has taken pole position at the last three grands prix, on each occasion Ferrari has caused trouble by being able to make much better getaways.

In France, Sebastian Vettel clashed with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner, while in Austria Kimi Raikkonen managed to position himself between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Last weekend at the British GP, Hamilton’s victory hopes were dashed early on after a poor getaway dropped him down the order before he was hit by Raikkonen.

With the run of starts having set up a pattern, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said on Tuesday the team was doing all it could to try to do better.

“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 is what we will be trying to do in Hockenheim,” he said on the Mercedes’ post-race Pure Pitwall YouTube video.

Speaking about what had gone wrong for Hamilton at Silverstone, Shovlin said: “The simple answer is that we got some wheelspin. There was a bit less grip on the grid than we were expecting.

“We had done practice starts there and at Silverstone they do actually allow 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 and that lost him places quickly.”

Car damage "very minimal"

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 spins after contact with Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H at the start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 spins after contact with Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H at the start of the race

Photo by: Jose Rubio / Sutton Images

Shovlin has also explained that Hamilton's car did not suffer any damage in the Raikkonen accident, despite the driver voicing fears over the radio that it had.

Instead, Mercedes suspects the complaints over the team radio early in the race were triggered by how bad the car felt in the turbulent air of other cars.

“We didn’t have much damage at all,” said Shovlin. “It was quite a big impact and we were pretty lucky to get away with it.

“The reality though was that you heard Lewis complaining about damage to his floor. We thought that there might have been some aerodynamic damage but that was just from running in the turbulent air of all those cars ahead when he was having to fight through.

“It was only when he got into clear air, and he could feel what the car was like and we could see his pace, that we were able to really understand that the damage was very, very minimal.”

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Mercedes , Ferrari
Article type Breaking news