Analysis on long runs: Mercedes unrivalled at Silverstone, Verstappen closing in Formula 1

Analysis on long runs: Mercedes unrivalled at Silverstone, Verstappen closing in

By Tomas Mota 01 August 2020 | 01:55

At the Silverstone circuit, the Mercedes Formula 1 team does not seem to be so dominant for the first time this year. Max Verstappen was by far the fastest in the first free practice, while Lance Stroll drove his car to P1 in the second session. But the numbers tell a different story.

For those who have followed the Friday sessions closely, it will be hard to believe that the Mercedes drivers are in the lead when it comes to the long runs. Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were frequently heard on Friday about the W11, which they said did not perform properly on the high-speed circuit in Great Britain. Still, Hamilton and Bottas are the fastest on any tire compound.

Mercedes by far the fastest on soft tires

For example, on the soft tire, both Mercedes drivers occupy the top positions in the long run analysis of Auto, Motor und Sport. The softest rubber, which due to the high temperatures on Friday could only be used for short runs, was often used by Hamilton and Bottas. The six-time world champion clinched a 1:31.724, while teammate Bottas followed with a 1:32.065.

The soft tire was not a favourite among Formula 1 drivers, it turns out. The fastest time after Bottas was done by Kimi Raikkonen, who lapped a 1:33,277 over a period of nine laps. The problems with his car meant that Sebastian Vettel struggled with his SF1000, lapping a best of 1:34.368.

Verstappen puts fire to Bottas' shins

It's a different story on the medium band. Although Mercedes is again at the top thanks to Bottas with a lap time of 1:31,820, the Finnish driver has Max Verstappen on his tail. The Red Bull Racing driver drove an average time of 1:31.835, less than two hundredths away from the pace of competitor Bottas. And since the medium tire can become an important strategic tire choice for the race, this is a promising prospect for the Austrian racing team.

Hamilton fired a long run on the medium tire, so we can only estimate what is his true speed on this compound. It is clear, however, that McLaren once again seems to be doing well. Thanks to Carlos Sainz, the British racing team comes in third. The Spaniard drove a time of 1:32.425. The analysis also shows that it will be a difficult weekend for Ferrari. Charles Leclerc drove an average time of 1: 33.297 and was even behind the Haas car of Romain Grosjean.

Racing Point is working on balance, Hamilton excels with the hard compound

The fact that Stroll drove the fastest lap time of the day does not translate into an excellent result in the long runs. The Canadian was "only" the third fastest driver on the hard compound, but was an average of 1.7 seconds slower than Hamilton. The British driver was by far the fastest on the hardest compound with an average lap time of 1:32.176.

Between both men we find Esteban Ocon , who seemed to be able to keep up with the pace in his Renault. The Frenchman was on average just under six tenths slower than Hamilton on the same tire compound. Returning Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg shows that Racing Point still has some improvement in the RP20's balance, as he averaged fourth fastest time with a 1:33.206. (Photo: Mercedes AMG F1 Media)



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