GPR-A wrote: ↑
Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:33 am
In Austria, the W08 could only perform on one type of tyres. For Hamilton, it was SS and for Bottas it was US. When drivers switched the tyres, they couldn't go as fast as expected. While Bottas opened a comfortable gap in first stint, he almost became a prey for the hunting Ferrari. In Silverstone, the car was good on either type of tyres. It means, either Merc nailed the setup for W08 and were lucky in Silverstone OR they have found solutions for a good setup. If the case is former, then Ferrari have a chance if they fix their own issues. If the case is latter, then it's a walk in the park for the W08.
This isn't quite true. I'm too lazy to fish out the numbers from the FIA event page, so to illustrate my point, I'll just refer to James Allen race report graph:
You can see quite clearly that Hamilton on the SS had the pace of both Vettel and Raikoennen on the US for the first stint. The problem was, that despite being faster than Raikoennen, once he closed the gap, he was unable to pull off an overtake. This compromised his race to the point that Mercedes decided to bring him in early for a longer stint on US.
Bottas was on a more conventional strategy, running the same as both Ferraris. On a heavy car and both being on US, his pace was mesmerizing compared to Vettel. The problem then was that Ferrari pitted Vettel early but left Kimi out, so Mercedes opted to keep Bottas out as long as possible, bringing the virtual gap down.
As reported by AMuS (and I think James Allen picked it up too), the SS are quite crucial in how they are treated in the initial few laps. If you go too aggressive on your outlap, you may be compromising the tire. This may be one of the reasons of why Bottas pace on his second stint in Austria was difficult - he was nursing compromised tire with heavy blistering.
The above reason is also speculated to be relevant to Silverstone. Both Bottas and Hamilton had an easy race in Britain - so both cars didn't have to be too aggressive on their outlap. Both Ferraris were in different positions. Vettel was attempting an undercut on Max (hence needed to be very aggressive) and Kimi was in a race with both Vettel and Bottas. This aggressive driving and strategy is speculated to be one of the reasons why both Ferraris had their front-lefts blown, where as Mercedes had a more controlled race and wasn't (didn't need to be) as aggressive.
In short, I think it's clear that Mercedes has a pace advantage, at least on the last 3 tracks (Baku, Austria, Silverstone). I see no indication that Mercedes was facing tire problems there (except for the blistering) and I think the conclusion that Ferrari was faster on one compound in Austria to be not entirely correct.