How Mercedes used F1 practice 'data morsels' to win the Hungarian GP

Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles says "morsels of data" from Friday practice helped the Formula 1 team predict how Max Verstappen's tyres would behave in the Hungarian Grand Prix

How Mercedes used F1 practice 'data morsels' to win the Hungarian GP

Lewis Hamilton won the race after pitting for a second time, overhauling Verstappen with four laps remaining as the Red Bull driver struggled on ageing hard Pirelli tyres.

All teams were compromised by limited dry running on Friday, but Vowles said Mercedes was able to construct models that allowed the team to predict how Verstappen's tyres would perform.

"Going into the race we had less data than normal due to the wet running on Friday," said Vowles in Mercedes' post-race Pure Pitwall video.

"No one had long run the hard tyre - run it with fuel to understand the wear, the degradation and how it would progress in the race.

"And that creates a lot of unknowns. Everyone went into the race, ourselves included, with the intention of one-stopping.

"As we went in it was clear there was no undercut opportunity, our next plan was to offset ourselves on tyres relative to Verstappen and then force him into a situation where he is using his hard tyre resource as much as possible, and maybe put him off the curve.

"As Verstappen and Lewis started to pull away from the field, it became obvious that other opportunities existed, which in our case, was a two-stop.

"We have a team behind the scenes that are working tirelessly. They took the morsels of data from Friday, the little running that we had, and constructed models as to how our tyres and Verstappen's tyres would perform during the race. And they were spot on.

"It is those models that enable us to understand that two-stop would very much lead to a fantastic situation at the end of the race, and that Verstappen's tyres should drop off the curve if we can pressure him enough.

"We had 20 seconds of race time that we had to make up, and then we had to overtake Verstappen at the end of the race. Lewis, rightly so, had concerns about that but every lap he delivered the lap time we needed in order to do that.

"It caused Verstappen to have to respond and fight hard and use the tyre he had available to him to pull that gap further, but it was with no avail, ultimately. He fell off the tyre curve, as the team predicted, and we ended up with the win."

Vowles was nominated by Mercedes to accept the winning constructor's trophy, and added he "embarrassed" himself after dropping a champagne bottle and "fumbling all over the place" on the podium.

"That emotion is something that will stay with me forever, and I am really thankful to have been able to do that multiple times," he said.

"When you are up there though, what you learn very quickly, is Lewis has been there far more than you have. And he knows what to do.

"And from four seconds, because I counted it, before he should have really picked up the champagne bottle, he had picked it up, shook it, and he had spayed it in my eyes. You are now blind, you can't see anything at all.

"What's more, it's now dripping on the ground, I'm fumbling all over the place, and I appreciate I embarrassed myself."

shares
comments
Wolff: Hungary an "awful" race for Bottas, won't influence '20 call

Previous article

Wolff: Hungary an "awful" race for Bottas, won't influence '20 call

Next article

Mexican GP organiser says F1 contract extension has been agreed

Mexican GP organiser says F1 contract extension has been agreed
Load comments
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021