Lewis hamilton He once said Ferrari had a ‘jet mode’ in qualifying, and he was not misguided judging by the subsequent FIA investigation. The seven-time English champion commented on Friday at Spielberg that Max Verstappen’s one-lap pace from Red Bull is on par with a “qualifying mode” like those banned by the FIA in September 2020. “It’s like they have the qualifying mode that we had, I don’t understand where it comes from but it is impressive and we have to work hard to catch up with them, “he said after the Austrian GP practice.
The pressure on the Honda power unit is constant. “They have something saved, I know that. We have progressed, but I still think they have two tenths, or one and a half. We have taken a step forward, but not enough, it is not two tenths. One lap I felt good, but I sincerely hope they finish in qualifying. I’m sure it will stay the same, the advantage they have in qualifying is usually the one they have in the race. We will push for it to be as small a difference as possible and I want to think that our pace in long runs is good. We’ll see, “said Hamilton.
Specific engine maps for classification are not allowed, although until last year they were common among manufacturers, the famous ‘party mode’. Its removal from Spa-Francorchamps in 2020 somewhat balanced the differences on the grid (Mercedes was eight tenths ahead of the rest of the grid in Barcelona, but in Portugal they only had 0.2 over Verstappen).
In recent weeks, Honda’s sudden improvement since the French GP, when the Red Bulls added a second power unit specification, has come as a surprise in the paddock. To contain costs, it is not allowed to improve performance, although it is possible to correct reliability problems. The debate didn’t end with the RB16B’s flexible ailerons. (Mercedes front also flexes) or tire pressures. Some think that by consolidating this last section, they have recovered horses that they could not use before. Although Mercedes will analyze the GPS data in detail. In any case, the extreme equality in the fight for the World Cup encourages this, an intense dialectical fight that reaches the offices.