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."

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