Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2019

“We’ll throw the dummy”: Mercedes’ radio messages reveal Q3 tactics

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In the round-up: Mercedes team radio messages reveal how Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were told to do a “dummy” practice start before their final runs in Q3 to trick Sebastian Vettel into running alone at the front of the field.

What they say

The radio messages to Bottas and Hamilton from the beginning of their flying laps in Q3 show how Mercedes planned to ensure Vettel was not able to run in their slipstream on his final run:

To Bottas: And Valtteri we’ll throw the dummy, so…
To Bottas: We’re going for the dummy at the start if I call it down the pit lane.
To Bottas: And remember it’s going to be just a pull-away.
To Bottas: Ah, sorry, I’m not going to tell you on the radio.
Bottas: Copy.
To Bottas: Ah we’re going for that plan.
To Bottas: We’ll go for the start.
To Bottas: Do not hold for long. As far left as possible.
To Bottas: OK let’s go.
To Bottas: Watch traffic exit.
To Bottas: Raikkonen the car ahead.
To Hamilton: Follow Valtteri out and be prepared to stop. Normal starting position, normal pull-away.
Hamilton: Marcus, EB2?
To Hamilton: Affirm.
Hamilton: Up to turn four?
To Hamilton: So just follow Valtteri out, and we’ll pull over for a start.
To Hamilton: So far left as possible, before the dotted line.
To Hamilton: And we can go again. Just normal pull-away.
To Hamilton: You’ve got traffic, all clear, go, go.
Hamilton: There’s a lot of cars ahead.
To Hamilton: Yeah no problem Lewis just focus on that gap ahead.

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Comment of the day

Will today’s Formula 1 race in Baku be more restrained than yesterday’s Formula E encounter in Paris?

I know others find this sort of thing exciting or whatever but I just don’t enjoy all the chaos and carnage you see in your average Formula E race.

I want to see some good, clean and somewhat pure racing so all the silliness that surrounds every Formula E race with contact, crashes, yellows and the dumb gimmicks like Fanboost and the simply ridiculous attack zone thing just turns me off.

I have given the series a fair chance this year I feel and will be walking away after today because it ain’t for me, pretty much the polar opposite of what I think is good and enjoyable racing.

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On this day in F1

  • 45 years ago today Niki Lauda scored his first F1 victory at Jarama, leading Ferrari team mate Clay Regazzoni in a one-two

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21 comments on ““We’ll throw the dummy”: Mercedes’ radio messages reveal Q3 tactics”

  1. LOL at Ericsson’s tweet!

    1. that was pure gold!

  2. Agree with the COTD. How much better would FE be on dedicated racetracks and not on street circuits? More room to race and run-off areas would reduce the crashes and safety car periods. But, maybe that is one way that FE gets some randomness into the results. I understand the appeal of FE, but it is not quite there yet.

    As for the dummy, I spat one when Leclerc hit the wall.

    1. I don’t think FE has enough energy to race at circuits yet. Those tends to go at higher speeds.

      In addition, due to the high torque nature of electric cars, street circuits and city driving favors them.

      1. Thanks for the explanation.

        Now, please tell me Leclerc can win from P9 :)

        1. @CC Ricciardo won from P10 in 2017, so anything’s possible on this circuit.

      2. BlackJackFan
        29th April 2019, 4:08

        So why is anybody even thinking F1 must give way to FE…!!
        I think the CotD is spot on. FE needs to grow up drastically before being able to challenge F1 (or even 750MC events… ;-) – Are we talking about ‘progress’… or ‘PC’ BS…?

    2. The thing is, FE is incredibly slow. Slower than fast consumer karts, slower than Formula Ford by a huge margin, slower than Ginetta Cup, etc. They are being very careful not to put it on tracks where direct comparison is possible.

      Essentially it’s a very expensive, very slow, very well publicised spec series, and the racing isn’t any different to other spec series.

      1. BlackJackFan
        29th April 2019, 4:10

        “They are being very careful not to put it on tracks where direct comparison is possible.”

        And yet the idiots are making comparisons… and telling the rest of us F1 must move over for FE… lmao.

  3. So I get the whole reasoning why Mercedes did what they did in Q3, but if Vettel knew he needed a tow, why did he pass the Alfa Romeo and McLaren on the out lap? The articles imply that he was third in line before the Mercedes pulled over, but wasn’t he the fifth car?

    1. @dragon86 – I’ve two guesses:
      1. He didn’t want to be caught out like others were at China, where they were in a train of cars and missed the cutoff
      2. More likely, different cars/teams have different approaches to getting ready for a flying lap (e.g. charging the batteries, warming up the tyres), and those take priority. Maybe the other two cars were not favourably placed to allow him to do this prep and use them for a tow.

    2. From what he said, I think it would have compromised the tyre warm-up @dragon86, James Allison also mentioned how tricky that was, and possibly Hamilton’s slow 1st sector might be due to that too.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      28th April 2019, 9:22

      @dragon86 You need to time the distance really well. With a car ahead that is slower than you, you need to create a gap so that you get close enough later. So it’s even harder to get it right.

      Vettel stated in the post quali interview that he did not want to take that gamble. He also said that that was a mistake and that he should have gone for the tow.

      Bottas made it work perfectly though. He created the perfect gap to the (slower) car ahead and got a great tow for the second half of his lap. (after all the corners were out of the way)

  4. Mercedes can play the tactical game very well.

    Regarding Sean Kelly’s tweet: I thought I was the only one who thought about whether Ricciardo completed his last flying lap in Q1 before the red flag came out or not. Apparently, he did after all, so all clear on that regard.

    Ericsson’s tweet, though.

  5. Well I’ll bet that Claire Williams is fine about everything now. We all know that flowers win over any girl! ;P

    Top tweet Marcus :)

    1. Maybe the bouquet has diamonds in it. In a way I can see marcus implying marcus is going to throw the car at the wall again.
      Classic day from Ferrari, bad strategy, considering tyre life, it makes no sense to start on M, and a tow did work, anyway not quick enough, s2 times showcase that, I had Ham on pole again, 2 weekends on a row bottas. Merc keep downplaying, dumbing down and misleading Ferrari, they couldn’t avoid gloating today.

  6. F1oSaurus (@)
    28th April 2019, 9:31

    Vettel asking about this dummy in the post quali press conference (and the bit that followed) was hilarious too.

    Is this even allowed though? Mercedes have been warned not to throw dummies before. Although that was about the dummy running out with tyres into the pitlane.

    Though, the Mercedes drivers were quick to call it “clutch calibration” after they had their laugh. So that sounded like their rehearsed excuse for this “practice start”.

    1. It’s specifically the pitlane dummy Mercedes were warned against, because there’s a regulation against it. No such regulation exists about the sort of on-track tactics seen here, so as long as they weren’t unnecessarily slow, all was fine.

  7. In this instance I disagree with COTD. FE was a standard wet single seater race on a street track.
    Dismissing this race is like dismissing Monaco 96 or to a lesser degree Brazil 2003. Both were great races.

    1. BlackJackFan
      29th April 2019, 4:14

      “Both were great races.”
      Agreed. But Paris 2019 was not.

  8. BlackJackFan
    29th April 2019, 4:15

    So why is anybody even thinking F1 must give way to FE…!!
    I think the CotD is spot on. FE needs to grow up drastically before being able to challenge F1 (or even 750MC events… ;-) – Are we talking about ‘progress’… or ‘PC’ BS…?

Comments are closed.