Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2018

Ferrari have options to attack Mercedes on Sunday

2018 British Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Lewis Hamilton took what could prove to be an especially vital pole position by a particularly slim margin at Silverstone.

As the Austrian Grand Prix showed, in hot conditions cars are especially susceptible to damaging their tyres when they run close behind others. So the first goal for Hamilton is to ensure he doesn’t lose his lead from pole position.

But the last race also showed Mercedes can be vulnerable at the start compared to Ferrari.

“We’ve looked at the starts,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told media including RaceFans after qualifying today. “This is an area where we haven’t performed so well.


“Our starts were OK but Ferrari’s starts were exceptional. There is always… we are under risk at the starts at the moment so we’ll see what it gives tomorrow.”

Ferrari won’t have the advantage of starting on softer tyres this weekend. However their engine has excellent grunt, and the longer run to the first braking point gives them a greater opportunity to use it. And whereas last time there were two Mercedes ahead of one Ferrari in the top three, this time it’s one against two.

But even if they do stay ahead this does not look like being an easy race for Mercedes. Silverstone is expected to remain unusually hot on Sunday.

“The heat is not what our car likes,” Wolff admitted. “You can see the difference in performance between FP3 in qualifying with 10 degrees in higher track temperatures. The same ambient is predicted for tomorrow.”

However he’s hopeful it won’t just be Mercedes who struggle with the higher temperatures. “It could be the difficult race for all cars.

“We’ve seen some blistering on the Ferrari yesterday. Their long run wasn’t spectacular. Ours was a bit better.

“But I think it’s about where you end up after lap one, whether you are able to manage it from the front or whether you have to attack. The moment you have to attack you’re obviously more under threat with degradation or blistering than the lead car.”

The possibility that the tyres won’t hold up opens up the chance this may to become a two-stop race, some drivers suspect. Daniel Ricciardo said Red Bull have prepared for that possibility.

“We didn’t use a second soft in Q2 so we’re thinking if it is two-stop we’ll have at least a new soft to use. The hard is too hard but the rest… I’ll be surprised if they do a fast one-stop tomorrow. I think really it’s going to be two-stop.

“Hopefully we’re in a better place. We’ve set the car up to be more gentle on the rear tyres so hopefully that can help us.”

However Ricciardo is pessimistic of his chances of taking on the cars ahead in a straight fight. “Ferrari and Mercedes are so fast they need to run into some big problems for us to really challenge them tomorrow.”

The key to the race for Mercedes could be Bottas. If he can get between the Ferraris at the start, that will hinder their attempts to use alternative strategies to attack Hamilton. “We will be going full attack tomorrow and part of that could well be two different strategies and just trying to be aggressive,” Wolff hinted.

“If we can stay in the lead I think Lewis in Silverstone, he’s a force,” Wolff added. “But obviously if you get overtaken at the start or in the first lap the whole thing becomes trickier.”

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Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’26.8181’26.256 (-0.562)1’25.892 (-0.364)
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’26.5851’26.372 (-0.213)1’25.936 (-0.436)
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’27.5491’26.483 (-1.066)1’25.990 (-0.493)
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1’27.0251’26.413 (-0.612)1’26.217 (-0.196)
5Max VerstappenRed Bull1’27.3091’27.013 (-0.296)1’26.602 (-0.411)
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’27.9791’27.369 (-0.610)1’27.099 (-0.270)
7Kevin MagnussenHaas1’28.1431’27.730 (-0.413)1’27.244 (-0.486)
8Romain GrosjeanHaas1’28.0861’27.522 (-0.564)1’27.455 (-0.067)
9Charles LeclercSauber1’27.9621’27.790 (-0.172)1’27.879 (+0.089)
10Sergio PerezForce India1’28.2101’27.928 (-0.282)1’28.065 (+0.137)
11Esteban OconForce India1’28.2791’27.843 (-0.436)1’28.115 (+0.272)
12Nico HulkenbergRenault1’28.0171’27.901 (-0.116)1’28.140 (+0.239)
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1’28.1871’28.139 (-0.048)1’28.498 (+0.359)
14Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1’28.3991’29.057 (+0.658)1’28.343 (-0.714)
15Marcus EricssonSauber1’28.2491’28.391 (+0.142)1’29.097 (+0.706)
16Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’28.4561’28.456 (0.000)
17Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1’29.096
18Sergey SirotkinWilliams1’29.252

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton27.520 (3)34.708 (1)23.643 (3)
Sebastian Vettel27.516 (2)34.752 (2)23.636 (2)
Kimi Raikkonen27.512 (1)34.911 (4)23.567 (1)
Valtteri Bottas27.572 (4)34.810 (3)23.698 (5)
Max Verstappen27.846 (5)35.029 (5)23.656 (4)
Daniel Ricciardo27.950 (6)35.214 (6)23.805 (6)
Kevin Magnussen27.954 (8)35.314 (7)23.976 (7)
Romain Grosjean28.015 (10)35.363 (8)23.982 (8)
Charles Leclerc28.030 (11)35.450 (9)24.134 (12)
Sergio Perez27.953 (7)35.803 (15)24.172 (14)
Esteban Ocon27.987 (9)35.716 (13)24.105 (11)
Nico Hulkenberg28.158 (12)35.673 (12)24.013 (9)
Fernando Alonso28.319 (16)35.634 (11)24.104 (10)
Pierre Gasly28.355 (17)35.780 (14)24.152 (13)
Marcus Ericsson28.217 (13)35.509 (10)24.413 (17)
Carlos Sainz Jnr28.250 (14)35.920 (16)24.286 (15)
Stoffel Vandoorne28.501 (19)36.084 (17)24.331 (16)
Sergey Sirotkin28.282 (15)36.206 (18)24.658 (18)
Lance Stroll28.492 (18)54.900 (19)34.867 (19)

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Over to you

Can Hamilton resist the Ferraris for another home victory? Are Red Bull genuine contenders?

Share your views on the British Grand Prix in the comments.

2018 British Grand Prix

Browse all 2018 British Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Ferrari have options to attack Mercedes on Sunday”

  1. Ferrari will do anything tomorrow to stop Lewis from winning. Anything.

    1. It will take more than Anything..

      Like Quali demonstrated, Lewis is quite a force here while Seb is not the greatest when it comes to Silverstone. This will make the difference.

      And perhaps Ferrari starts. If they mug Hamilton on first lap, then its 50-50 who wins

      1. @jureo

        Like Quali demonstrated, Lewis is quite a force here while Seb is not the greatest when it comes to Silverstone.

        The quali I watched demonstrated that Hamilton was exactly 0.044 seconds faster than Vettel, which isn’t a whole lot on a 5.9 km circuit.
        Quali also demonstrated that Ferrari have a small but noticeable straight line speed advantage, as they were the quickest through all four speed traps around the track; their biggest advantages were measured at the end of the Wellington straight and the Hangar straight.

        At the end of the day it’ll all depend on whether Hamilton will be able to set a fast enough pace to remove the Ferraris from his undercut window without ruining his tyres. If he isn’t, he’ll need Bottas to split the Ferraris early in the race, or it’s going to be a very close race.

        1. @jureo Ham needs the start of his life, as he knows being stuck between two Ferraris means tyre trouble. I just hope it all stays clean on lap 1!

          1. damm yes he had the start of his life… he probably went thinking the same trying to get the start of his life and wheel spinned too much

        2. Ferrari has the fastest car here after their upgrade and with the heat. It’s just that Hamilton had a great lap in Q3 and both Ferrari guys and Bottas messed up their laps.

          1. Lol funny how it turned out in the end.

  2. @keithcollantine Your grid is off and one of the tables shows 15 cars setting Q3 lap times. Needs a review.

  3. I think there’s something wrong with the “Qualifying times in full” table. Q1 seems okay, but the lap times in Q2 show a few quirks already (Pérez 1/10 slower than Ocon but making it into Q3 unlike his team mate; Gasly 7/10 slower than Ericsson despite qualifying ahead; Sainz having a lap time despite failing to progress into Q2), and Q3 has lap times for all drivers from 1st to 15th place, and Pérez’s lap time isn’t identical to the one he set according to the 2018 British Grand Prix grid.
    Also, there’s a minor glitch with Stroll appearing in 20th place (there is no 19th), and outside of the table.

  4. Just as I suspected Ferrari’s combined best sector times were enough to beat Hamilton.
    By 40 thousands of a second.

    1. Lewis Hamilton 27.520 (3) 34.708 (1) 23.643 (3)
      Sebastian Vettel 27.516 (2) 34.752 (2) 23.636 (2)
      Kimi Raikkonen 27.512 (1) 34.911 (4) 23.567 (1)

      Adding up their own best sectors, without mixing drivers:

      HAM: 1:25.871
      SEB: 1:25.904
      Pole: 1:25.892
      RAI: 1:25.990
      BOT: 1:26.080

      Vettel would beat the pole position time if he had put his own best sectors together. But Lewis would also go much faster if he had put his own best sectors together.

      1. lol I sorted my list wrong and now I can’t edit it

      2. JesusChrist
        8th July 2018, 4:30

        Dear diary, today I learned one hundredth of a second is “much faster”

  5. Hamilton did such a good job in this qualifying, look at the sector times: raikkonen lost pole cause of a subpar 2nd sector, vettel lost pole cause of a subpar 3rd sector, hamilton put it together, limited the damage on the 3rd sector where ferrari was advantaged, extracted what he could on 2nd sector and didn’t lose time in the first sector either, this is hamilton top form, it’s just that ferraris are much more competitive than I’d have expected (so far at least) due to the mercedes-made tyres.

    1. I’m no big fan of HAM but he did very well to get pole. Was a bit lucky as he messed up a bit in S3, but hd enough in the bag from a stonking S2.

      Both Ferraris look very capable.

  6. Can Hamilton resist the Ferraris for another home victory? – Difficult to judge.
    Are Red Bull genuine contenders? – On pure pace, no.

  7. Will be difficult for Ferrari to do something at the start here, they kinda need more HAM to mess up his start rather than doing a great start themselves. They don’t have a tyre advantage, the straight is short and followed by a high speed corner. Slim chances if you ask me.

    1. HAM to mess up his start rather

      And it’s very difficult, almost impossible for Hamilton to have a bad start, I suppose?
      Hamilton, it seems, forgot how to start and not lose a position a long time ago. Ferrari will eat him at the start.
      Besides, Ferraris do have tyre advantage over Mercedes. If they don’t overtake Hamilton at the start, then they’ll do that at their first and only stop in the pit lane.

      1. Mmm, no, but it rarely happens to HAM to lose P1 at the start, even when his starts are mediocre. Maybe because he’s using all the tricks in the book not to make it easy for the opponents too.

        How come Ferrari has the tyre advantage, in one of the Quali-related articles Keith mentioned all front guys will start on the same tyre: Softs.

        God I hope you’re right, but it’s not sure Ferrari will be the easiest car on tyres this race. They might destroy their tyres sooner than needed by trying to keep up with HAM or trying to overtake him.

  8. The real question is given last week’s DNS will Mercedes go the distance? Will Hamilton be forced to manage the car just get points?

    In recent years Hamilton has become a much more pragmatic driver. I think if he had to make a choice, eg if Bottas DNF again, he might settle for some points rather than risk it all on a win.

    IMO It will be about the early pressure on the tires and engine modes.

  9. Well the attack came. Poor start from Hamilton and then to cautious with Bottas. Really set himself up like a sitting duck for that assault from Raikkonen.

Comments are closed.