The low temperatures and a few drops of rain characterize the first day of free practice of the Austrian Grand Prix. The teams are back on track after collecting the data last weekend, some to try to change something, others for confirm the performances. Among the latter there is certainly the RedBull of Verstappen, which comes in a robe quite similar to what was already put on track last weekend, both from the point of view of assets, which from the data and from what has been seen on the car appear without radical changes, both as regards the approach of the motorist. In fact, both last Friday and today we see one Honda particularly conservative in the afternoon session, with surveys is output curves still well distant from what we saw in qualifying and the race in the Styrian Grand Prix. On the other side we have one Mercedes which seems to have found a overall compromise slightly best and that it is already pushing a little more on power unit to find the actual limit on tires. We compared the ride of Lewis Hamilton earned the best performance of the day with that of Max Verstappen, third behind Bottas, to get some more information.
We see that Verstappen continues to have in the three long straights top speed major, but the blue line of the Dutchman’s speed on all three occasions (and also in the extension up to the braking of curve 9) exceeds that of Hamilton only at the end, when Mercedes is forced to some clipping and also emerges greater aerodynamic resistance to which the W12 is subject. The way in which the Verstappen acceleration curve is “leaner” than that of Hamilton is the typical confirmation of the level of power still not high of the thruster. In the mixed section Hamilton (in the afternoon author of a good ride) tackles better the stretch of curve 6 and 7 than Verstappen, while the two they are equivalent on the last two corners before the finish. Also chronometrically Mercedes’ greater power output is immediately evident, with Hamilton earning most of his lead in the first sector, with 121 thousandths in favor of the British, earned (as can be seen clearly in the graph of the progress of the gap) in the first sector of one good exit of curve 1 is excellent uphill traction to mean the greater torque discharged to the ground by the propulsion unit of the black arrows. The other stretch where Hamilton earns the most is the extension between Turn 8 and Turn 9, a sign that Brackley mapping choice was enough aggressive, specially at low revs.
Ferrari confirms the more exhausted set-up
The two reds are unable to adequately test the qualifying simulation due to the rain that arrives just as Sainz and Leclerc take to the track for the fastest lap, but the data collected on Sainz’s lap, as well as what they visually intuited with the rear wing spoon on the SF21 confirm a level of load not as high as last weekend. We have plotted the second long straight of the track, the one that goes from turn 3 to turn 4, to note the differences in traction, I stretch is top speed.
We note that, beyond the low cornering speed due to the slimy track, the power unit Ferrari does not recover in tractionprobably still low power and in any case lacking a few horses as known. RedBull instead it immediately expresses good traction, but around 200 km / h the curve tends to getting down slightly. After a good mechanical traction then, when the aerodynamic resistance begins to weigh, the engine Honda still not pushing enough, still held to low revs as previously highlighted. On the contrary the “richer” curve right in this whole phase is that Mercedes. Around at 290 km / h However Things change. Mercedes begins to suffer from the greater aerodynamic resistance and begins to no longer have a higher speed than Ferrari and RedBull. Sainz’s Ferrari immediately overtakes both opponents and stands as the fastest. The Maranello car does not have an efficiency comparable to the RedBull so the load level is generally inferior to the hostess stables. Verstappen just comes out at the end, with the usual “flicker” in the final phase of the forehand, a sign of a hybrid part always very effective.
For Ferrari, however, the attempt to keep the tire temperature under control, seen in the morning, it still bears fruit even in the afternoon, with the reds showing an excellent race pacedespite the set-up changes. However, they remain two unknowns, for the Maranello team and for everyone. On the one hand, the temperatures that already in qualifying will be a lot higher and they might bring some answers very different for everything related to rubbers, especially for softer compounds. On the other hand, the weather, which continues to threaten rain for Sunday and could leave the doubt to the teams if increase the load a few points to try to take advantage of the occasion in case of rain. Two days still all to be discovered therefore, despite the second race in 7 days on the same circuit.