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Red Bull cut Mercedes' lap time advantage to new low at Nurburgring - RaceFans
Alexander Albon said Red Bull's upgrade has "put us a lot closer to the Mercedes" after his team mate lapped within two-tenths of a second of them. But they aren't the only team who've closed the gap.
Mercedes took pole position for the 11th time in as many races this weekend – but Red Bull are closer than ever. In fact, had Max Verstappen replicated his Q2 lap time in Q3, he would be starting from the front row of the grid alongside pole winner Valtteri Bottas. That lap of 1’25.467 is Red Bull’s best of the weekend so far, and was less than two tenths of a second off Mercedes’ best.This is another encouraging sign of progress for Red Bull. Two races ago in Mugello we were talking about them getting closer to Mercedes than at any point so far this season, having cut the gap to 0.327s. Today the deficit was 0.198s. Max Verstappen credited the gains to Red Bull’s latest upgrade package and his team mate offered the same view. “I think it’s a whole part, really, it’s all bits and pieces, front to back,” said Alexander Albon. The team ran the package despite not being able to thoroughly evaluate it as planned yesterday due to the disruption the weather caused to the practice sessions. “To be honest we can’t compare it to the previous package just because without the Friday running, normally the plan was to run the old package versus new package,” said Albon. “So with limited running, we’ve kind of just started on it. Mercedes swept the front row again but they’re not quite as quick as usual “But it feels good. It feels quick, obviously, straightaway in FP1 – or FP3 – it was feeling pretty strong straightaway. I was happy with it and I think it’s a good step forward. It’s put us a lot closer obviously to the Mercs.” However Red Bull’s upgrade doesn’t appear to be the whole story. Several other teams have narrowed the gap to Mercedes by a similar amount in the four weeks since the Tuscan Grand Prix, notably Renault, McLaren and Ferrari. Albon conceded Mercedes appear to be slightly weaker at this track, and in these unusually cold temperatures, than at other venues. “I don’t want to say Mercedes struggled but they don’t seem as quick,” he said. “When you look at the other teams as well it’s not like we’re miles ahead of everyone else. I would put it in that sense.” Mercedes could become the first team ever to take pole position at every race in a season. But Red Bull’s progress indicates it’s only going to get harder for them to keep up that streak. Quotes: Dieter Rencken 2020 Eifel Grand Prix Browse all 2020 Eifel Grand Prix articles
F1: FIA dismisses Hamilton's claim they are "trying to stop me" - RaceFans
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi defended the independence of the sport's stewards following Lewis Hamilton's claim they are "trying to stop me" with recent penalty decisions.
Formula 1 race director Michael Masi defended the independence of the sport’s stewards following Lewis Hamilton’s claim they are “trying to stop me” with recent penalty decisions. Hamilton was speaking after he was given two five-second time penalties in the Russian Grand Prix for performing his pre-race practice starts in an unapproved location.Masi said he would not respond directly to Hamilton’s comments, but insisted the stewards reach their decisions independently and that all drivers have the opportunity to raise any concerns directly with him. “From my perspective it’s very simple,” said Masi. “If Lewis wants to raise something, as I have said to him before, and say to all the drivers numerous times, the door is always open. I’m more than happy to discuss anything. “But I think from an FIA perspective we are there to, as a sporting regulator, administer the regulations. We have the stewards as an independent judiciary to adjudicate those. Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free “There was an infringement and it doesn’t matter if it was Lewis Hamilton or any other one of the 19 drivers, if a breach has occurred of the regulations they will consider it on its merits. And also, further to that, I would say adjudicate it equitably and fairly in the circumstances, taking all the key elements into account.” Mercedes realised stewards were not going to like Hamiltons practice starts Hamilton said the recent change to engine ‘quali modes’ was another example of how Mercedes are being kept in check, as other successful teams have in the past. “I dont necessarily think that its for me,” he said, “I think probably most teams, whenever a team is at the front, obviously they are [under] a lot of scrutiny. “Everything we have on our car is being checked and triple-checked. They are changing rules, such as the engine regs, lots of things to get in the way to keep the racing exciting, I assume. “I dont know if the rules, in terms of what happened today, was anything to do with it. But naturally thats how it feels, naturally it feels like you were fighting uphill. “But its OK, its not like I havent faced adversity before so we just keep our heads down and keep fighting and keep trying to do a better job and be cleaner and squeaky clean.” Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free 2020 F1 season Browse all 2020 F1 season articles
Will Hamilton really miss the medium tyres he 'pleaded' for? - RaceFans
Lewis Hamilton said he "pleaded" with Mercedes to let him qualify on the medium compound tyres. But will starting on the softs really put him at a disadvantage?
Is Lewis Hamilton’s position really as vulnerable as it might seem going into Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix? Unlike his closest rivals, he wasn’t able to qualify on his preferred tyre compound. And while he has pole position, that may not be as great an advantage at Sochi as it is at other tracks. He’ll be serving up a generous tow to his pursuers on the long run to turn two – especially if there’s a headwind.What’s more, two of the quickest starters behind him have landed on the cleaner side of the grid: team mate Valtteri Bottas in third position and Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault in fifth, which has made some great getaways lately. Carlos Sainz Jnr is among those concerned one side of the grip will offer much more grip than the other. “There is a dirty side, particularly this year off-line it looks very dirty,” he said. “Today in the out-laps whenever I was trying to overtake a car or get out of line, the dirty side or off-line it was particularly dirty. A lot of stones, a lot of dust coming out of the car in front. Sainz is concerned about poor grip off the racing line “So I do feel like it’s not the ideal place to start. I like starting sixth, I think it’s a good place to start, it’s just this side of the grid looks particularly dirty.” Hamilton raised concerns about his starting tyre compound after qualifying. Following various setbacks in Q2, Hamilton was forced to accept starting the race on soft tyres instead of the favoured mediums. “I did plead to have the medium tyre but they werent having it,” he explained afterwards. “Naturally I think we will have a discussion at the end, whether it was right or wrong. It doesnt matter now, its happened so we will just make do with what we have.” Go ad-free for just £1 per month >> Find out more and sign up Max Verstappen, who cleverly exploited Bottas’s tow to join Hamilton on the front row, and Bottas in third place will both start on the medium rubber. “It’s clearly not the optimum strategy,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, “because after some laps, the soft is clearly going to suffer. That means it compromises your whole race because you probably need to pit into traffic. And then obviously it’s not a great situation.” Renault’s Permane says the soft tyre isn’t too bad But other teams who have qualified on the soft tyres are less concerned. Renault’s sporting director Alan Permane predicted those starting on the soft rubber will be able to do “15, 20 or so laps” at the start, which is hardly a drama in a 53-lap race. “It’s not as bad as we’ve seen certainly before here in previous years on an even stiffer compound. I think when we had the thicker gauge tires, the C4 we had here one year was awful. This tyre’s behaving pretty well for a soft tyre. So I don’t think we’ve got any concerns. “Some people were running reasonably long stints on it yesterday afternoon. We saw people I think this morning running multiple laps on it and going faster. So no, we’re not worried about it. “You see the top three have gone on the medium, that’s because they’re in their own race and it just makes things a little bit more comfortable for them. But I don’t think there’s a great deal between the two.” Hamilton’s tyres therefore may not be the disadvantage he fears they are. They may even hand him a vital advantage when he needs it most. The extra initial grip at the start of the race may even give him a useful few extra metres’ advantage over Bottas on that long run to the first braking zone. One ‘disadvantage’ could therefore cancel out the other. Quotes: Dieter Rencken Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free Qualifying times in full Sector times Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free Over to you Does Verstappen have a hope of beating the Mercedes drivers? Who will take the all-important lead at the start? Share your views on the Russian Grand Prix in the comments. 2020 Russian Grand Prix Browse all 2020 Russian Grand Prix articles
Perez "didn't expect" call from Stroll saying he'd lost Racing Point seat - RaceFans
Sergio Perez revealed Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll called him yesterday to confirm the team was cutting short his contract for the next two seasons.
@nuvolari71 – Yes, Perez brings a lot of millions, and it will have cost Stroll somewhere between 6-12 million to end the contract, on top of not receiving any more of their money for next season. But the rise of the Aston Martin stocks yesterday evening (before losing most of that today again when reality settled down) shows that having Vettel there to add to the lustre of the brand, to be able to get Middle eastern princes, Russian olicharchs, Chinese party bigwigs & industrialists introduced to their new toy by a 4 time world champion like Vettel is worth far more to the brand (if they succeed to deliver on their promises, not like the Lotus bubble that ultimately burst) than even tens of millions they get from Perez and his backers. I don’t expect Lance to be faster than Seb. And he showed last sunday that he does not quite have the killer mentality to bring the win home when it gets offered to him (compare Gasly, who’se tough year made him better able to grab that opportunity when it was on the table), something Vettel would surely bring to the team. Vettel will help the team build on the concept they now have of the car, to be able to build a good car for the future too. And he can coach Lance to grow into a winner in F1 too. Perez will most likely buy a place at Haas, or maybe at Alfa Romeo. He has experience, he brings money and he has shown he can bring the results home in a midfield car. That clearly beats what Grosjan offers nowadays, and probably what Magnussen does too. Alfa could do worse than replace Kimi with Perez, and they know eachother from earlier years too. And I am sure Ferrari would be happy to have Perez there to mentor Mick Schumacher at the team (since it seems they are still backing Mick far more than Shwarzman and Illot who would deserve that step up as much IMO).
Teams who lobbied for 'quali mode' ban didn't show great performance today - Wolff - RaceFans
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said the team anticipated the ban on 'quali mode' and will be able to "run the engine much harder in the race" following the changes.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said the team anticipated the ban on ‘quali mode’ and prepared in order to minimise its impact on their performance. The team scored its fifth consecutive front row lock-out in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix today. It was the first race since the FIA introduced a new technical directive preventing teams from changing engine modes between qualifying and the race.Wolff said it was noticeable the teams’ rivals who lobbied for the change did not perform well today. “It is the mindset of this team that, when things change, [to be] as adaptable as an organisation, almost a Darwinistic principle, to confront every possible situation that comes up,” he said. “I think that once it was clear that the lobby against our ‘quali mode’ has grown, much before the TD came out on the regulations, we shifted our development work towards that situation. And today we’ve seen for the first time how the level of performance has changed between the teams. “There are some interesting outcomes. I think maybe the ones that pushed the hardest didn’t show great performance today. “The biggest advantage we have focussed on is to gain race time and that happens tomorrow. But you don’t want to praise the day before the evening. So we are pushing the boundaries, we’ve had a really good Saturday and I’m very pleased for the team. Now we need to do well on Sunday.” Mercedes will have much more power available in the race as a result of the changes, said Wolff. “Once we knew that this was coming week we said ‘OK, let’s use it as an opportunity’. I think we have a great organisation and the mentality in Brixworth was great. They said bring it on, let’s come up with strong mode for qualifying that we can run all race. “Overall we have lost very little qualifying performance but gained a lot of performance in the race. We can run the engine much harder in the race. And we were only able to achieve that with a lot of research and with a lot of bench running. “So far so good, let’s see how it pans out over the next sessions.” Wolff also revealed Mercedes did not use its ‘quali mode’ at every race this year. “We used it in Belgium,” he confirmed, “but we had race weekends before where we didn’t use it.” Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free 2020 Italian Grand Prix Browse all 2020 Italian Grand Prix articles
Hamilton says Verstappen needs a stronger team mate · RaceFans - RaceFans
Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull are not operating at their full potential because only one of their cars is consistently challenging the Mercedes pair.
Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull are not operating at their full potential because only one of their cars is consistently challenging the Mercedes pair. After seven races, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is second in the drivers’ championship, 47 points behind Hamilton. But his team mate Alexander Albon is 62 points behind his team mate, who has out-scored him in every round they’ve finished.Albon has tended to qualify several places behind Verstappen, which Hamilton says is limiting Red Bull’s strategic options in the races. “What you’ve got to look at with the Red Bulls is I think they’ve got a very good car – people downplay it but they’ve got a very, very strong car,” Hamilton told Sky. “Max is doing a great job with it. “Unfortunately, both drivers aren’t there like me and Valtteri [Bottas] are. That makes it harder for them. “I’ve experienced it many years ago when I was at McLaren and I was the driver that was always at the front and didn’t have a team mate backing up. So you equally don’t get the constructors’ points, but then can’t play strategy on the cars that your racing against. So they’ve got that, he’s kind of there on his own.” Earlier in the weekend Red Bull team principal Christian Horner defended Albon’s performances since he joined the team ahead of last year’s Belgian Grand Prix as a replacement for Pierre Gasly. “Everybodys obviously got an opinion on this topic but they dont have really the facts,” said Horner. “Alex is doing a good job in whats been a difficult car this year. Its a different car to last year, Id say the cars harder to drive than 12 months ago. Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free “When he got in the car 12 months ago he did a much stronger job than Pierre had done up to that point in the year. I think Alex has got a lot of talent that obviously we havent seen come to the surface yet. Hamilton cost Albon a potential win in Austria, said Horner “His racing has been very strong on a Sunday but hes struggled with the car over a single lap. And, of course, Max has been so strong at getting the most out of the car. “You think back to some of the great drivers, whether its a [Michael] Schumacher or an [Ayrton] Senna, and being a driver alongside those guys was very tough. I think thats a similar situation that the seat alongside Max has at the moment. “Alex is only going to get better. Hes still pretty young and inexperienced. This is only his second season of F1 racing and were doing all that we can to support him and develop him.” Horner pointed out Albon’s results would look better this year if he hadn’t been knocked out of second place by Hamilton in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. “This is a driver that nearly won the first race of the year. Strategically we were sharp, he obviously got turned around by Lewis that race. He was fighting for the podium and should have been on the podium in Brazil at the end of last year [where Hamilton also hit him]. “I think hell have more Sundays like that in the coming races where hes competing and fighting for podium finishes on merit. So, the team has confidence in him and belief in him and were happy with our choice.” Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free 2020 F1 season Browse all 2020 F1 season articles
"Quali mode' ban won't put Red Bull on terms with Mercedes - Verstappen · RaceFans - RaceFans
Max Verstappen doubts the coming ban on engine 'quali modes' will make enough of a difference for Red Bull to compete with Mercedes in qualifying.
Max Verstappen doubts the coming ban on engine ‘quali modes’ will make enough of a difference for Red Bull to compete with Mercedes in qualifying. The FIA has told teams that from next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix they will be required to run the same performance settings on their engines in qualifying and the race. This is expected to stop teams ‘turning up’ their engines in qualifying.However Verstappen expects this will only make a minor difference to Red Bull’s deficit to Mercedes on Saturdays. “Just looking from our perspective, I don’t think I will move forward [on the grid] but hopefully get a little bit closer,” he said. “But the gap in qualifying is still too big. Qualifying mode is not going to make the difference. I just hope that we can be a bit closer.” Verstappen said Mercedes’ superior top speed will make it hard for Red Bull to compete with them this weekend. “There’s a lot of long straights,” he said. “It’s difficult to balance anyway with downforce around here. It’s never traditionally been a great track for us. But nevertheless I enjoy coming here.” This weekend drivers will use the same tyre compound selection which Mercedes struggled with at Silverstone, where Verstappen scored his only victory of the season so far. But he expects the cooler temperatures this weekend will prevent their rivals from experiencing similar problems. “We kept saying we need heat, we need heat. Well, we definitely got beaten in the heat in Barcelona. Maybe we could have done things better but a gap like that, even with a bit of set-up work, is not going to change. “Maybe the tyres will help, I don’t know. It’s not going to be warm enough I think, anyway. So it’s tricky. I always like to be realistic and I don’t like to tell fairy tales. It will be hard but I will try to, of course, be on the podium.” Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free 2020 Belgian Grand Prix Browse all 2020 Belgian Grand Prix articles
RaceFans Round-up: Hamilton suspects Bottas didn't manage his tyres enough - RaceFans
In the RaceFans Round-up: Hamilton suspects Bottas didn't manage his tyres enough • Low-downforce set-up paid off - Binotto • AlphaTauri suspects puncture caused Kvyat crash
In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says he could tell his team mate Valtteri Bottas was taking too much out of his tyres in the British Grand Prix.
RaceFans Round-up: Red Bull handling better after upgrades - Verstappen - RaceFans
In the RaceFans Round-up: Red Bull handling better after upgrades - Verstappen • Haas expected to struggle at Silverstone - Steiner • Drugovich and Sargeant take support race poles
In the round-up: Max Verstappen said his car “looked better and also felt better” in practice at Silverstone.
Mercedes originally decided against extra pit stop for Hamilton - Allison - RaceFans
In the round-up: Mercedes had decided against extra pit stop for Hamilton - Allison • Binotto: 'Sacking people won't make car faster' • Penske and Acura to split
In the round-up: Mercedes technical director James Allison said the team originally decided not to pit Lewis Hamilton in an attempt to set fastest lap at the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix.