A botched Fer­rari strat­egy

Sportstar - - SHORT TAKES -

Lewis Hamil­ton won the Ital­ian Grand Prix be­cause Fer­rari didn’t play the team tac­tics game as well as Mercedes all week­end and that started with the tyre choices.

The story com­ing away from this week­end in Monza has re­ally got to be: “How did Fer­rari, with the fastest car, a front row lock­out and huge home crowd sup­port, come away fur­ther be­hind in the cham­pi­onship than when they went into it?” To re­ally look at how this un­folded, we need to go back eight weeks to the tyre se­lec­tion process.

Fer­rari ar­rived in Monza with only one set of soft tyres for Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and only two for Kimi Raikko­nen. We’ve seen other peo­ple do this and I’ve never re­ally un­der­stood why teams put them­selves into a corner like this. The Pirelli tyres are ex­traor­di­nar­ily tricky to man­age — much more than the Bridge­stones or Miche­lins we had pre­vi­ously in F1, and by now ev­ery team knows that. I can sort of un­der­stand bring­ing only one set of the hard­est tyre be­cause it’s very rarely used, but cer­tainly with the two softer choices, you want to give your­self enough of a chance to run the tyre in free prac­tice so you get a good idea of what you’ve got when you bolt it on in the Grand Prix. Yes, they all have sim­u­la­tion tools and re­ports from dozens of en­gi­neers and “tyre groups,”but there’s noth­ing like good, old­fash­ioned real life prac­tice some­times.

Lewis Hamil­ton re­ally forced his way to vic­tory this week­end and Mercedes played the team tac­tics game much bet­ter than its Ital­ian ri­vals. There was a feel­ing in the pad­dock that the Fer­rari was the quicker car all week­end, but the qual­i­fy­ing bat­tle amongst the top three was closer than ev­ery­one ex­pected. It truly was one of the best ses­sions I’ve seen in a long time.

The most con­fus­ing thing from qual­i­fy­ing was Fer­rari’s de­ci­sion not to back their main ti­tle con­tender. The slip­stream ef­fect on the straights in Monza far out­weighs the loss of down­force in the cor­ners. At other

AFP

Ex­tend­ing his lead: Lewis Hamil­ton re­ally forced his way to vic­tory at the Ital­ian Grand Prix.

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