THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Mercedes still the underdogs

FORMULA ONE: Mercedes didn’t have the fastest car at the German Grand Prix, but even this plain fact couldn’t stop the Silver Arrows from marching to a memorable one-two victory.

Formula-One
By Michael Lamonato

Friday 27 July 2018, 04:00PM


Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton leaves his car after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix at the Hockenheim racing circuit last Sunday (July 22). Photo: Andrej Isakovic / AFP

Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton leaves his car after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix at the Hockenheim racing circuit last Sunday (July 22). Photo: Andrej Isakovic / AFP

Lewis Hamilton led Valtteri Bottas to the chequered flag ecstatic and exhausted – ecstatic for having reversed the poor fortune of the previous two rounds, exhausted for having scythed his way up the field from an unlikely 14th on the grid.

“It’s obviously very, very difficult from that position and highly unlikely, but you’ve always got to believe,” he beamed. “I said a long, long prayer before the race started … so big, big thanks to God.”

Hamilton certainly was helped on his way to victory, but his thanks should go to title rival Sebastian Vettel as much as they should intervention of the divine.

Vettel was dominating the weekend. A major series of aerodynamics and power unit upgrades for both Ferrari and Mercedes over preceding rounds had placed the German and his Italian team at the head of their respective championship tallies.

Unfortunately for both, a sprinkling of rain washed all those advantages away.

Vettel was comfortably in control of the race when the rain arrived, and as he entered Hockenheimring’s tricky stadium section, he pushed too hard on the slick surface, locking his rear axle and gently but conclusively sliding his car into the barriers and out of the race.

The four-time world champion had nothing to blame but his own eagerness to build his margin over the field in the slippery conditions, and after he emotionally apologised to the team for dropping what should have been a guaranteed 25-point haul, he took responsibility for his error.

“Apologies to the team, they did everything right,” he said. “I had it in my hands.

“I don’t think it was a huge mistake, but it was a huge impact on the race.”

But even through disappointment etched heavily on the 31-year-old there was a glimmer of optimism: Vettel had been comfortably in control of the race because Ferrari had been the unquestionably faster car from the moment the sport arrived in Germany.

“It was a very positive weekend,” he confirmed in bittersweet tones. “We have a strong car, so I think we can be as confident as anyone else.”

This wasn’t just Vettel softening the blow of a race weekend lost; this was cold, hard fact.

In 2017, the first year Mercedes had its dominance challenged under the current regulations, Ferrari had the better-rounded package but still lacked ultimate pace, winning only by taking advantage of its rival’s weaknesses.

This season the fight has been too close to call, but across the last two rounds Ferrari has nosed ahead in terms of both aerodynamics and pure power, the latter hitherto the undisputed domain of Mercedes.

“They have a great power unit, huge performance,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said after his team was easily beaten in qualifying. “We were looking good through all kinds of corners but we are not able to match their straight-line performance.

“If we want to win this championship or stay in the hunt … we’ve got a severe warning today.”

It’s a fascinating twist on the usual Formula One logic that Mercedes can power out of its problems, and it presents a foreign scenario for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday (July 29) – ordinarily teams hope to catch Mercedes on a circuit that doesn’t reward engine performance; in 2018 Mercedes is hoping the tight and twisty Budapest circuit brings Ferrari back down to earth.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes way have won the battle for the German Grand Prix, but the war for the 2018 championship is still far from decided.

Don’t forget t listen to Live89.5 each and every Saturday at 9am and 5pm for the Box of Neutrals radio show.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

"The court later released him and Yong on bail of B400,000 baht, and Thanee on B500,000, and pr...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

Why is the truck on the wrong side of the road, and what part of the accident involved the pickup?...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

Premchai's been released on bail. Does this mean he has a suspended sentence or that his appeal ...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

So, just the 1000 dollar question, who did kill the black leopard? Don't tell me that one of the...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

"How long is the old poor Thai couple.." Try to google it or sent a petition and ask for a...(Read More)


New Zealand mosque attack suspect charged with murder

"addicted to psychotropic drugs" Would that be an excuse for his doings. Surprised that se...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

"Where has the reader been the last decades" and what country is suspending a license for ...(Read More)


Premchai jailed for 16 months, not guilty of black leopard charge

For how long is the old poor Thai couple in jail for plucking mushrooms in a national park?? How is...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

ok the truck should not have been there, but the motorbike was apparently overtaking over a double y...(Read More)


Two banned trucks hit two motorbikes on same day, same road

One wonders who the real troll is... . I use the road on a regular basis and it IS dangerous if one ...(Read More)