F1-GP SPAIN 2017 // The riddle of the eight seconds

Mercedes paved the way for Lewis Hamilton to attack on Sebastian Vettel with an ingenious tactic. He wondered where his 8-second lead remained. In our race analysis, we will clarify the open questions about GP Spain.

Who triggered the start-up crash?

Already in the first corner it went wild. There was a chain reaction. The trigger was Valtteri Bottas, who tagged Kimi Raikkonen- who then hit Max Verstappen. “My start was good. I wanted to go left, but there was not enough space, “says Bottas. “I tried to drive in because there was a gap. But Sebastian got it and I hung behind him. In turn 1 I wanted to stay inside, outside try to overtake the others then and it was unfortunate that I touched Kimi. It was just too tight and I’m sorry about what happened with the guys behind it. “Max Verstappen: “If Valtteri had not touched Kimi, there would have been enough room for all of us in this corner.”

At first, Raikkonen and Verstappen came back to the track. While Räikkönen finally parked the Ferrari in the gravel in turn 10 with suspension and tire damage, Verstappen dragged himself to the pits. But it was evening.

How did Hamilton get the Vettel lead of 8 seconds?

Sebastian Vettel could not understand that. In the press conference, he puzzled how Hamilton was able to make up for the gap of just eight seconds after his second stop, so he hit directly on the British at the box exit. “I was surprised to see him so close,” said Vettel.
The key was Hamilton’s second stop one lap ahead of Vettel. At the end of the Virtual Safety Car phase triggered by the collision of Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne, the Mercedes strategists took him to the service. “If you make a pit stop under normal circumstances, you lose 21 seconds. Under the Virtual Safety Car, the effective time loss is much less. That helped him, “said Mercedes-Motorsportchef Toto Wolff.
At first it looked as if they had come too late to this idea, but the tactics behind that Vettel cant do the same. When Hamilton went into the pits, Vettel had to keep on a part of the finish line still at the reduced speed. Added to this was a strong outlap from Hamilton, where he made a good two more seconds compared to Vettel’s later Outlap. This tactical move enabled Hamilton with the soft tires to attack Vettel on the slower medium tire in the last stint.

Would a third stop for Vettel have paid off?
At the Mercedes-control one was aware that even after the overtaking maneuver by Lewis Hamilton in round 43, there is still danger of Sebastian Vettel. Finally, the medium tire could once again switch to the soft mix to start an attack. “We have always tried to have a lead of 2.5 seconds in the event of a pit stop,” said Wolff.
Vettel was discussing on radio with his engineer about Plan C. “We had a big lead on Daniel, we could have done everything. We were not sure. We were hoping Lewis would get problems with his tires, but that did not happen. “Vettel would still have used soft tires. The Mercedes engineers say it would have been worth only twelve laps before the end, because otherwise there would not have been enough time for the hunt.

GP Spain 2017: result

Driver Team time / gap
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35.56,497 hours.
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari + 0:03.490 Min.
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull + 1:15.820
4. Sergio Perez Force India + 1 lap
5. Esteban Ocon Force India + 1 lap
6. Nico Hülkenberg Renault + 1 lap
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso + 1 lap
8. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber + 1 lap
9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso + 1 lap
10. Romain Grosjean Haas + 1 lap
11. Marcus Ericsson Sauber + 2 lap
12. Fernando Alonso McLaren + 2 lap
13. Felipe Massa Williams + 2 lap
14. Kevin Magnussen Haas + 2 lap
15. Jolyon Palmer Renault + 2 lap
16. Lance Stroll Williams + 2 lap
17. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes DNF
18. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren DNF
19. Max Verstappen Red Bull DNF
20. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari DNF