Understanding Mercedes’ Tactical Move in F1 Japan

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Understanding Mercedes' Tactical Move in F1 Japan
Hamilton's Mercedes at F1 )Credits: F1)

During the Japanese Grand Prix, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, driving for Mercedes, had a tough time. They finished seventh and ninth, which was a step back from their qualifying positions. The team faced challenges during qualifying and the first part of the race because of issues with the hard tires they started with.

After a red flag on the first lap, Mercedes decided to try something different. They put both drivers on new hard tires, hoping to make only one pit stop during the race. But their pace wasn’t good enough, especially in the second part of the race. They had to change their plan and make an extra pit stop, switching to medium tires for the rest of the race.

Mercedes explained that they chose the one-stop strategy to be different from other teams. They had fresh hard tires available and thought they could make it work because they had already used medium tires at the beginning of the race.

Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, said, “We thought that would be a way to be a bit different. It would certainly be an easier way of achieving a one-stop with two hards than with a medium and a hard.”

Understanding Mercedes' Tactical Move in F1 Japan
Brussel and Hamilton’s Mercedes at F1

However, both Russell and Hamilton struggled with their pace during the first stint on hard tires. Hamilton also had some damage to his car after the restart, making things even harder.

Shovlin explained, “The end of our hard stint wasn’t good enough. We were dropping off. We lost a fair bit of time in traffic but fundamentally we weren’t quick enough.”

Mercedes is still trying to figure out why they struggled during the first part of the race. They had better performance during the second stint on hard tires and the final run on medium tires, similar to what Ferrari and McLaren were doing.

Shovlin said, “That’s one of the jobs that we’re going to be getting into in the next few days trying to work out exactly what happened.”

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