On the Istanbul Park there is a competition perhaps not exciting from the point of view of emotions, but certainly intense And very difficult for drivers and teams. The Grand Prix is won by a great Bottas, which this time brings home a really first place deserved. The Finn, in his last season with Mercedes, proves, on the one hand, that the W12 was the car to beat also at Istanbul Park, on the other hand that, when he has a car he likes in his hands, he is mentally free and does not have to engage in battles body to body, can go fast, even in the complicated conditions of Turkish Sunday. The second and third place of the Red Bull seem instead more rewarding how much the performance of Milton Keynes’s car has hinted at. Throughout the race Max Verstappen remained second without ever having a real chance to get close to Valtteri Bottas and indeed he often had to check the mirrors for the proximity of Leclerc. The RB16B managed to solve only in extremis and only partially the problems emerged during free practice, and, in fact, ran a race in defense trying to capitalize as much as possible the penalty served by Hamilton. In this he helped a lot the work of Sergio Perez, who, although not brilliant in the pace, pulled out a beautiful defense in the highlight of the battle with Hamilton. The level seen on the track between Mercedes And RedBull however, it could be worrying from a global perspective for the Austrians. Aside from Zandvoort, Toto Wolff’s team has always shown a performance, perhaps only slightly, in the last races, but always superior to RedBull, and Verstappen’s current leadership of the world championship is due to the sum of the great cynicism of the Dutchman and his team and ai errors of Hamilton and Mercedes in some key moments. If on the one hand it must be said that the ranking at the moment is close to Hamilton, on the other hand this is only the confirmation of how the differences in performance are in any case minimum between the two teams, how the final result is not yet written and how Every detail can make a difference. One of the details, which in reality is not so much detail, are the ambient temperatures of the competition days. The Turkish weekend once again showed how, when racing in conditions colder, a big problem arises on the RB16B understeer that the team struggles to correct, something we had already noticed during the summer. The good news for Verstappen’s world hopes, however, is that temperatures are expected on all tracks between now and the end of the championship. much higher and this could allow us to see a final stage truly on par.
Hamilton hasn’t chased away ghosts yet – In the second part of the race the “events” of Hamilton and of Leclerc, both struggling with the complicated strategy decision to be adopted. Listening to the dialogues between the Mercedes garage and Lewis Hamilton strikes how consistently Hamilton was disagree with its low wall and, above all, the type of requests that the Englishman addressed to his track engineer Bono. Hamilton, after pulled straight on his own initiative despite the box having recalled it when Bottas (moreover at the moment that, ex post, turned out to be correct), came to ask or to don’t stop you hate fit dry tires. Ocon’s times at the end of the race and those of Leclerc before the pit clearly show that the race without a pit stop was possible but at the price of a vertical collapse in the last 15 laps, and Vettel’s clumsy attempt with slicks describes itself, so the forcing the British insisted on would cost him even more than what has already cost him not to stop when called back. It therefore seems that the English champion was somehow trying to be still the hero of the day, and if the hunger for victory and records has been the fuel that has fueled the fire of Hamilton’s performances in recent years, forcing his hand in this way can only be counterproductive and it is difficult to imagine a driver like a seven-time world champion with 100 Grands Prix won still feels the need to to demonstrate something.
Really great Ferrari, helped by a particular condition – Despite not having reached a podium, the team protagonist of the Grand Prix from the point of view of performance was the Ferrari. Charles Leclerc led the entire first part of the race literally glued to Max Verstappen, leaving the whole group behind. We calculated the averages from lap 2 to lap 34 (before the pit stop waltz) and we understand that the fastest on the track was Bottas, with Verstappen and Leclerc at only 1 tenth of detachment, while Perez, fourth was at almost 6 tenths per lap by the leader and then about half a second to Leclerc’s slowest lap. If sometimes it is difficult to decipher the behavior of the SF21, the impression we have gathered from the data and from what we have seen over the weekend contains some basic concepts important. There starting point it was certainly excellent: as often happened this year the I work in a factory and in the simulator it proved profitable and, once the car was put on the track on Friday, the feedback on the balancing they revealed themselves immediately very positive. The big problem that risked afflicting the redhead’s weekend was, however, due to temperatures. An air temperature below 20 degrees combined with the damp asphalt could put in crisis the Maranello car that usually struggles to get up to temperature and to operate correctly in these conditions tires. It has been seen well during the qualification, with Leclerc who, having also chosen a more aerodynamically unloaded set-up, found himself struggling with tire temperatures for almost the entire session, apart from the very last lap. Having opted for a trim plus exhaust Leclerc himself had said to himself fearful of the wet on the eve, but then in the race the performance was excellent. One wonders how this is possible and the answers we have given are two. On the one hand we observed the work of the team he chose to download aerodynamics stating from multiple sources that it was a choice made “with a view to the race“. This normally is counterintuitive, because from a competition point of view there is a tendency to to increase the downforce to preserve the tires while on the dry ride instead it tends to download relying on the grip given by the new rubber. Evidently the aforementioned hypersensitivity to some factors (such as weight) of the SF21 leads to a car that, with a full tank of fuel, goes to download much more energy on the tires, adopting a different behavior to the point of making the difference between wearing them and keeping them at temperature or not. On the other hand, they played a key role the conditions at the edge of the track. There compound of the intermediate rubber in fact it is particular, more “soft”Than normal soft rubber and tends to heat up more, but with a generally effect contained by the water on the track.
However, the Turkish Grand Prix was run in more humid than wet conditions, so with very little water on the track that never dried enough to use dry eraser. In these conditions the rubber is much easier to heat and to keep in temperature and indeed it is often necessary to check that you do not exaggerate by heating too much, which is why we have seen the drivers pass on the straight on a wet trajectorytrying to avoid overheating of the covers. Thanks to this particular condition, which lasted for the whole race, Leclerc And Sainz they found themselves racing with a car that found the optimum tire temperature a bit like (forgive the simplification) they were running with dry tires and 25-30 degrees of air and asphalt. The result was that the Ferrari drivers were able to take full advantage of the excellent work they had done with the trim and the good performance of the new Power Unit and show a performance really convincing. Sainz’s comeback, who literally left Ricciardo in place, and was only stopped by the problem at the pit stop, on the one hand confirms how the pilots Ferrari are among the best of the grid on the other is the emblem of the gorgeous shape of the Maranello team in Istanbul, with a result that goes without a podium very tight in this case to the red. The podium was lost with that attempt to keep Leclerc on track without making a pit stop. Definitely a mistake in retrospect, but the easiest job is to be a Monday strategist, while it is much more complicated to make a decision live in a condition so extreme and without reference data. It has happened so many times in the past that, by replacing an intermediate tire on a semi-dry track for a new one, the lap times got worse enormously, and it was practically a da situation wager. Ferrari has focused on victory remaining on the track and it went badly, but in this case it is difficult to blame the team or the driver, and it is indeed, in the opinion of the writer, appreciable that instead of a safer podium we tried to return to that step more top of the podium that has been missing for more than two years. However, there is progress and the work base appears to be good. The new Power Unit seems to have its strength not so much in the maximum power, but in the ability to modulate and above all to anticipate its delivery, allowing stages of traction And start extension better, simplifying i overtaking and in general giving more freedom of choice on the car set-up.
The next chapter of the world championship will be on the beautiful Austin track, the start of the final rush of the world championship, and it is not certain that the red will not become referee of the fight between Hamilton and Verstappen, between Mercedes and RedBull, starting to consistently reach the podium positions and, on some more favorable tracks, maybe something more.