Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas say Mercedes has decided not to start on the media for the 2021 Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix due to the risk of losing ground.
The Black Arrows squad routinely use the middle compound tire in qualifying to give it more strategic options in races where the yellow-walled rubber versus the soft tires the rest of the top 10 runners use to run their Q3 Securing placements is generally more durable.
Red Bull usually gives a similar strategy to Max Verstappen, but all three frontrunners avoided that approach in qualifying in Barcelona on Saturday.
This means that all 10 Q3 runners will start the race on the soft compounds – just like at the 2020 Spanish GP.
In the post-qualifying press conference, Bottas explained that the thinking behind Mercedes, which didn’t follow their typical Q2 tactics, was the difficulty of overtaking in Barcelona and the lack of grip the mediums would offer at the start of the race compared to the softs .
“The position on the track is pretty important here, I just didn’t want to lose ground at the start of the race – that’s the main thing,” said the Finn.
Hamilton explained: “It is 600 meters to turn 1, so a difference of six meters [in grip off the line] there is no advantage between the tires “.
Video: Lewis Hamilton talks teamwork behind historic 100th pole (Daily Mail)
Lewis Hamilton talks about teamwork behind the historic 100th pole
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He added, “Especially if you happen to get the medium in position and the car behind it is on a soft, for example, and they’re boxing – [your team will] pull yourself in anyway.
“So then you don’t have the advantage [of the mediums being more durable] and you’ve just given up on an additional opportunity. That is the reason.”
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Verstappen said Red Bull “could easily have qualified” despite the compact field behind the top 3 [the mediums]”But did not consider it” necessary “to do so.
Verstappen also explained why he had decided to overtake several cars on his final out lap in Q3, which in his opinion did not affect the fact that he did not set a faster time in his final run in qualifying – a development that too Hamilton happened and Bottas.
He said, “I just didn’t want to be on the back of the train.
“Because when I left the garage I saw that there were seven cars in front of me, and of course I know from experience that you turn 10 and suddenly you almost have to stop, so I didn’t want to.
“Well, I just passed them and my tire temperatures were still okay when I started mine [final] Round. I just didn’t want to get into a mess where people want to overtake you on the last two corners or whatever. “
Spanish Grand Prix, the starting grid
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