Analysis longruns: Verstappen, Stroll and Ricciardo put Mercedes under pressure
By Robert McGillivray 12 September 2020 | 06:31
Mercedes must keep a close eye on the competition at Mugello. On the new Formula 1 circuit in Tuscany Mercedes may have recorded the fastest time in both free practice sessions, for the race the German team has a less rosy outlook.
Looking at the speed the drivers have in the long runs on the different tyre compounds, it can be seen that Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are not alone. Take the soft tyre, for example: on this Pirelli rubber, Lewis Hamilton is on average the fastest thanks to a time of 1:22,569, but Max Verstappen barely gives the Brit a breathing space by following him at about two tenths. The Red Bull Racing driver recorded a 1:22,788, according to Auto, Motor und Sport.
Bottas follows in third place with a time of 1:22,944 and thus stands in front of Sebastian Vettel, who surprisingly takes fourth place with a 1:23,222. The Ferrari driver stays ahead of Alexander Albon, Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo, among others. However, the soft tyre doesn't seem to mean much for the race, due to the high tyre wear at Mugello.
Stroll claims 'pole' on the medium tyre
The same cannot be said of the medium tyre, which seems to be a good compound for Sunday's race. It is Lance Stroll in his Racing Point who has the fastest time on average on this rubber. The Canadian, who is currently fourth in the Formula 1 World Championship, is the fastest driver thanks to a 1:22,426. Sergio Perez proves the speed of the Racing Point with his 1:22.627, giving him third place.
Bottas splits the two Racing Points with his W11 Mercedes. With a time of 1:22.528, the Finnish driver is a tenth slower than Stroll. Besides Racing Point, Red Bull is also strong on medium. Verstappen takes fourth place with a time of 1:22.638, which makes him a fraction slower than Perez. Albon follows his teammate by half a second but is fast enough for the fifth-fastest time.
Ricciardo in the wake of Hamilton on hard
At the hardest compound available, Hamilton is the fastest of everyone in the long runs. The Mercedes driver, who according to his own words hasn't quite mastered the circuit yet, drives an average of 1:22.755 on the hard Pirelli. Close behind Hamilton is Ricciardo, who is approaching about one-tenth in his Renault thanks to a 1:22.847.
In Friday's training sessions the hard tyre was not much appreciated. Behind Ricciardo follows Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri in four-tenths, then the gap to fourth place (Kimi Raikkonen) is more than half a second. Kevin Magnussen is bottom of the league with a 1:24.975. (Photo: Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images)
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