Are Mercedes on the verge of domination?
10th July 2013, 16:11 at 4:11 pm #131963
I was just having a think of the season so far, and to me Mercedes are not too far from dominating. They have a car that has pretty much dominated qualifying all year long, and could quite easily have taken 100% poles so far this season (all 3 SV poles were in mixed conditions). The car excels in cool conditions (race pace in Malaysia was a match for Red Bulls) and based on their Silverstone performance, the car can handle warm conditions as well. Mercedes Achilles heel seems to be hot temperatures on race day i.e. 40 degrees plus which we had at Bahrain, Spain and Germany. On a track like Silverstone where high speed corners dominate therefore downforce is king, Hamilton’s pole lap was 0.6 clear of Vettel; that’s a pretty substantial advantage. Its clear Mercedes have the fastest car on the gird, but a car that struggles in hot temperatures; i’m sure with the brains mercedes posses in their technical dept, they will overcome this issue pretty soon. People are too quick to write off both championships in Red Bull’s favour, but this championship is perfectly poised, Red Bull and Vettel have a points advantage, whereas Mercedes have a clear performance advantage bar very hot temperatures. I think unfortunately Ferrari and Lotus lack pace to Red Bull and Mercedes and can only compete with them in certain conditions, in the long run this wont be enough to threaten for the titles. I think we could be in for an epic battle between Mercedes and Red Bull for the titles.10th July 2013, 16:50 at 4:50 pm #207665
I would like to be able to share your optimism but I think the following things are going to play against Mercedes this season:
1. In Hungary they will be the only team that goes blindly into the race with a new compound. Unless they miraculously build the car to the correct spec, they won’t do that well.
2. The last few races of the season really favor the Red Bull.
3. They are moving to a softer compound which judging from which teams are complaining (Mercedes and Red Bull), the move to the softer compound will benefit Ferrari and Lotus but hurt Mercedes the most since their car has the smallest operating window. Red Bull is complaining because the softer compound will give them more opposition from the likes of Ferrari and Lotus.
4. Despite appearances, Rosberg seems to have taken a very adversarial stance towards Hamilton and we saw how that panned out at McLaren with Button and Alonso.
5. Hamilton has to keep an incredibly cool head that I would not even expect Raikonnen to manage given the countless races Hamilton has lost from the lead. He literally has to warp the fabric of reality to win as he did at Austin and Hungary last year.
But in 2014 things could change and no one really knows where things will go. I do hope to see Mercedes competing10th July 2013, 16:50 at 4:50 pm #207666
It very much depends on one’s definition of domination. By the definition of some who claim the Red Bull has been a dominant car since 2009, the Mercedes would already be considered to be dominating.
In reality, the Mercedes is on the verge of a possible slight domination, like the RB7 (2011): the verge being their tires holding up. Like the RB7, they have a clear pace advantage, but like the RB7, in reality it’s not really that big to consider it domination.11th July 2013, 4:15 at 4:15 am #20766711th July 2013, 9:28 at 9:28 am #207668
To dominate, Mercedes needs to improve its race pace. That has to do with keeping the tyres alive, but in addition I think they are also often slow at the beginning of a Grand Prix, that is, before you would expect overheating rear tyres to come into play (for example, Rosberg knowing by the third corner in Barhain that he wasn’t going to be able to keep Vettel and Alonso behind).
Intuitively, it feels easier to improve race pace than to improve qualifying pace, yet some patterns, like Mercedes being fast in qualifying versus Lotus and Ferrari being quick in the race, have persisted for quite some time. Hence, fixing race pace is no easy thing, and they need to fix it before they can start to think of dominating. Their season so far, from competitive to not:
3. Malaysia: had the pace to challenge for the win.
4. China: once Lewis had gotten rid of debris in his front wing, he was pushing Kimi for 2nd.
5. Canada: a podium for Lewis that was helped by Nico holding up Webber initially (and thanks to VdG, of course)
6. Australia: super softs worked reasonably well after the first few laps, but on mediums they didn’t have the right balance.
7. Germany: initial pace on the softs was actually pretty good, but the mediums didn’t work until the final stint.
8. Bahrain: the car was a dog until the final stint.
9. Spain: the car was rubbish throughout.
Also, I’m not that convinced that the Mercedes really favours the hard tyres over the soft tyres, as they struggled most on the hardest selection of tyres in Bahrain and Spain (where of course it was hottest). Isn’t it true that the softer compounds have a higher working window?11th July 2013, 13:12 at 1:12 pm #207669
When teammates are out for themselves and themselves only as we’ve seen with Alonso and Button then it actually hurts the team. You will say that every teammate is out for themselves deep down. True but a good team mate knows when it’s time to help the team and when it’s time for them to shine and the time should always come if you’re in a top constructor. A selfish teammate wants the other teammate to fail even if it hurts the team and consciously or subconsciously works towards that goal so they can just shine in their teammate’s failure, instead of their own glory.
We also saw it with Rosberg who unaware of Hamilton’s racing position at the time decided to hold him up until lap 14 – for all Nico knew he was costing Mercedes the victory but seemed perfectly fine doing it…11th July 2013, 16:08 at 4:08 pm #207670
I saw the title of this thread and thought: “Who could this be by?”
Somehow, I got it right!11th July 2013, 16:21 at 4:21 pm #207671
I don’t think that they are. They are staggeringly fast in qualifying, but I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the teams which performs worst in qualifying (of the top teams of cause) are the ones with better race pace. Lotus and Ferrari. While Merc is dominating qualifying they are worthless on a hot track. Likewise, Lotus are hopeless on a cold day.
So the Merc can put a lot of energy into the tyres quickly which can help them in qualifying, but hurts them in the races.
Lotus is the other way around, and Red Bull seems to have hit the best balance between qualifying and race performance.
So to increase their race pace, they have to decrease their qualifying pace and vice versa.
Ferrari have been working on increasing their qualifying pace for years now, and they are still not very good at it in comparison to their race performance, so I don’t think that it’s an easy fix.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.