Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team are positive after securing a double podium finish in the double-header at Silverstone for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finished second and third respectively, while Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took victory.
“We didn’t expect to struggle with the blistering” – Hamilton
While Hamilton was able to secure a second place finish, he did not imagine that he would experience such severe blistering of his tyres as he did.
“It was a really challenging race out there today. Fair play to Max on the win, Red Bull didn’t seem to have the same tyre issues we encountered. I’m just grateful that we managed to bring it home in second and score some good points. We didn’t expect to struggle with the blistering to the extent we experienced it,” he said.
“The first stint was difficult, in the second stint I was managing the tyres like you cannot believe. I was doing everything I could to nurse the tyres, but it made no difference to the blistering. I was pushing so hard in those final laps to pass Charles [Leclerc] and Valtteri that it felt like I was racing with half a tyre at the end.”
Despite the challenges they faced, Hamilton is confident the team will be able to find solutions.
“I don’t know if anyone else struggled with the blistering the same way we did, so we’ll have to see what happened today, but I know this team will get on top of it,” he concluded.
“A frustrating race” – Bottas
In contrast, Hamilton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas branded his day “a frustrating race” having started from pole position and finished third, just behind Hamilton.
“That was a frustrating race today. It’s never great to start from pole and finish third. I think we were pretty much on the back foot from the moment I lost track position to Max,” said the Finn.
“We potentially could have gone longer in the second stint, the way Lewis did, to be able to push more towards the end of the race on fresher tyres. I tried to keep up with Max, but as soon as I started to push in the final stint the tyres just fell apart.
“We really struggled with the blistering today; as soon as you have blisters, you lose the grip and the performance, and it becomes very tough.
“It seems like the other teams, particularly Red Bull, didn’t have the same problem, so we’ll have to look into that and try and get to the bottom of it. There’s a lot to learn for us today, but as always we’ll move on and try to come back stronger.”
“We weren’t as competitive as we would like to be” – Wolff
Team principal Toto Wolff said that although they were able to secure two podium finishes, they weren’t as competitive as they would like to be as they had missed out on the win.
“Congratulations to Max and Red Bull for their first race of the season. For us, it’s been a difficult day in the office. We knew that in certain conditions we weren’t as competitive as we would like to be and that caught us out today,” he said.
“It’s a combination of hotter conditions, a high-downforce car, softer compounds and higher tyre pressures that meant that we didn’t have the fastest car today and we were blistering our tyres far more than the others.”
He added they will spend some time working out the cause of their problems ahead of the next race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in two weeks time.
“We have a handful of days to find out what exactly caused our issues today, come up with solutions, test them on Friday in Barcelona and then hopefully have a better race on Sunday.
“It will be challenging, but we’ve had these days in the past and came out stronger and I am really looking forward to Barcelona. These days where we lose are the days where we learn the most.”
“Damage limitation” – Shovlin
The team’s chief race engineer, Andrew Shovlin, has said the team were in “damage limitation mode” as they were not able to take the fight to Red Bull for the win.
“Well done to Max and Red Bull on the win. We couldn’t really compete with them today and were in damage limitation mode from fairly early in the race to make sure we didn’t slip further back than second and third.
“We’ve obviously got work to do before Barcelona to understand our performance today, we were clearly more prone to blistering than our opposition and just about every car out there looked to be in better shape.
“However, our bad days have always resulted in our biggest steps of learning and we’ll be getting stuck into that challenge immediately.
“The forecast for Barcelona looks like it will be even hotter than here so we don’t have long to understand these issues.