Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2018

Wolff credits “marginal gains” for Mercedes’ French GP win

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In the round-up: Toto Wolff has described Mercedes pace increase at the French Grand Prix is thanks to a combination of small improvements, compared to struggling against Ferrari and Red Bull in Canada.

What they say

I think what you saw in Montreal, you compare it to Le Castellet and it’s that marginal gains matter.

We fell back in Montreal because we couldn’t bring the new [power unit] and we were racing [power unit] one for the seventh consecutive race while the others had upgrades so that certainly didn’t help. We’re also constantly learning how to set the car up in the right way in combination with the tyres and of course we’ve also brought some upgrades to the car, which it was good to see coming together.

And all these gains in their respective areas added up to a solid step which we could realise in just a few days in Le Castellet.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Aseel Al Hama, Reault E20, Paul Ricard, 2018
Aseel Al Hama, Renault E20, Paul Ricard, 2018

Aseel Al-Hamad driving the Lotus E20 in current Renault livery at Paul Ricard yesterday.

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Comment of the day

There have been some interesting debates about penalties today, with Vettel and Grosjean handed five-second punishments, Gasly and Ocon reprimanded for exiting the race and Sirotkin penalised for being too slow under the safety car, while Sainz’s team received a fine for speeding in the pit lane. GtisBetter thinks consistency is the key to fairness:

The question is do you let the outcome of something influence the penalty? I don’t think you should. Let’s say speeding in the pitlane has a five second penalty. It doesn’t matter if you speed by 5 or 20 kph. By the same logic, causing a collision is a five second penalty (I think), regardless of the outcome. The wrong action (collision) should be penalised and it should consistantly be the same.

Whether five seconds is fair for a collision is another matter, but once that is agree upon, you can’t give more for hitting a champions contender out of the race or clipping a front wing because both are the same. Just as pushing another driver off the track can be a a just a little of course, but can also make him spin and ruin his race.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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14 comments on “Wolff credits “marginal gains” for Mercedes’ French GP win”

  1. I’ve been away, but from COTD I assume people were demanding for Vettel’s head.

    I want in on the fun

  2. Wow, that Maini radio, poor guy doesn’t seem to be handling the pressure mentally :( Don’t think it matters much what the problems are, literally crying publicly that your team doesn’t support you and that nobody believes you isn’t likely to get you much other than a pat on the shoulder.

    Maybe someone will listen and he will get his wish of not racing in the championship any more. Lots of kids would like that opportunity poor reliability or not.

    RE: COTD That’s silly, 20kmph over a speed limit should be treated the same as 5? In what world does that make any sense and it’s the same with causing a collision. You don’t want an obvious reckless driving charge treated the same as a mild touch. You can have consistency of punishments while still having different categories of incident.

    1. This is another indicator of the awful situation that F2 is in. But considering that neither he nor his teammate are factory-supported (Ferrari, Renault, Mercedes) drivers, and that they are in a backmarker F2 team, his complaints will probably be swept under the rug.
      And of course, he needs to see the same psychologist that his brother Kush had seen during his Italian F4 stint. Otherwise we may well see Haas backing shift to another driver – probably another Italian-American currently racing in Indycar.

      1. @sundark Just out of curiosity (I’m not really following F2), what’s so awful about it?

        1. A lot of drivers are stalling on starts due to technical difficulties.

      2. You mean the one with the “Haas” logo on his IndyCar?

    2. Yes, and if I were a driver I would take advantage of some wrong rules till they fix them, as in verstappen should’ve cut the chicane at monaco to overtake hulkenberg and gasly, made a couple fastest laps, got a 5 sec gap, take penalty and finish 7th instead of 9th, cause yes, currently it’s only 5 sec for that.

      And if speeding in the pitlane by 5 or 20 kph is the same, then let’s just go at 200 kmh and gain time if the penalty is 5 sec no matter what!

      1. @esploratore

        Kind of agree with you. It’s hard to give to have the same penalty for varying degrees of an infraction.

        Personally, I think they need to change the 5 second time penalty to something harsher for a driver error resulting in contact. A drive through would probably be a better penalty. As you mentioned, a driver can afford to take a 5 second penalty to gain track position, so it almost feels like teams will intentionally use the penalty from time to time where it can suit them. So the FIA would need to re assess their penalties to begin with, so we can avoid situations like we saw last weekend.

    3. Maini’s teammate Ferrucci was absolutely furious on the radio the previous day – I was quite surprised he was so rude to his engineer. Maini has since said he was ranting at the series, rather than the team but certainly a specifically fiery situation at Trident this year.

  3. Will there be a starts and race facts post this week. Its the best feature that I’ve not seen for a while

    1. @darran I suppose so. Recently it’s been posted either the Friday or the Thursday after a race, but it used to be posted on the Monday after a race. Let’s wait and see when it will be posted this time around.

  4. Wasn’t it more that Mercedes (or rather Hamilton) lost out because they changed the setup overnight and it didn’t work. The car was doing fine in the free practices before that.

    Just like how Ricciardo got stuck with his setup for the France GP.

  5. I disagree with the COTD: Yes, consistency is the key to things in general, but still, the exact same type of penalty shouldn’t automatically be given for any given two similar kind of incidents/moves as there could be other factors surrounding them that makes them less comparable to each other. Driving 20 kph above the speed limit in the pit lane is nowhere near the same as driving only five kph above it, so no way, they should be treated equally. By that logic, why not drive through the pit lane at, for example, 300 kph instead if the penalty would be the same anyway. Leaving the track and gaining an advantage/corner-cutting, for instance, is another matter in which every single move shouldn’t automatically be treated equally. Sometimes it’d be better to just order the driver who’s gained a position in an illegal manner to give it back straightaway, or give him a drive-through penalty instead of the 5-second time penalty as it mightn’t always be the fairest/most effective one for that type of move as the Hulkenberg-Perez case from last season’s Abu Dhabi GP demonstrates.

    – Maini’s radio message, though.

  6. petebaldwin (@)
    25th June 2018, 19:55

    COTD is interesting but it’s not how justice tends to work. If someone sets fire to a building and the fire brigade put it out almost immediately, they’ll get done for arson. If the fire brigade are already dealing with a fire which delays them by 5 minutes and by the time they turn up, the whole building is on fire, they could get done with manslaughter.

    The punishment usually fits the outcome rather than the action.

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