Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Hamilton wary of possible “problems tomorrow” and threat from Verstappen

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton isn’t taking Mercedes’ strong start to the Spanish Grand Prix weekend for granted after their tyre troubles in the last two races.

Mercedes led all three practice sessions one-two and swept the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix. However they have experienced problems with their tyres in both of the last two races.

Severe blistering at Silverstone last weekend allowed Max Verstappen in to beat Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas to victory. The week before, on harder tyres, both Mercedes suffered failures late in the race, though Hamilton hung on to win ahead of the Red Bull driver.

While Mercedes have consistently had the strongest pace over a single flying lap this year, Hamilton said “we expect these guys to be probably a little bit better” in the race.

“It’s definitely not going to be easy for us,” said Hamilton in response to a question from RaceFans. While he doesn’t expect a repeat of the blistering seen at the last race, Red Bull appeared to suffer less tyre degradation during Friday’s practice sessions.

“I don’t think we have the same problems we had last week,” said Hamilton. “But obviously we’ll find out when we get in the race.

“We’ve got those hot conditions, we have a harder compounds so fingers crossed that helps. I wouldn’t put it past us having problems tomorrow, but we’ll wait and see.”

Verstappen, who will start from third place, said he is encouraged by his car’s performance over a race stint.

“I felt very happy in the long run yesterday with the balance of the car and the wear of the tyres as well,” he said. “But tomorrow is a new day and we’ll have to try and show it again. Of course I hope that I can be close to them and put the pressure on.”

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15 comments on “Hamilton wary of possible “problems tomorrow” and threat from Verstappen”

  1. Mercs might be safe tomorrow knowing no one is on alternate tyres for start of race.

    1. @Chaitanya No one in the top-ten to be more precise, but yes, no closest rival even more relevantly.

      1. Yeah to me it just feels like Merc will have adapted enough, which is such a strength of their’s, and that Max will have a much harder time bothering them. But it would be great if that at least means pressuring them all race if he can’t just pass them coming out of the pits ala Max on VB last weekend. I think the best Max might be able to do is deal with VB while LH controls from the front. But hey, who knows? That’s why they don’t hand out the trophies until the end of the race.

    2. Plus overtaking is close to ompossible on this circuit. So the only thing Merc have to do is tell Bottas to drop back, and Hamilton is fine.

      1. Lets not forget it was that Merc v Merc battle which a telling factor on their tire life.

        If Bottas pushes Hamiliton again, that leaves the door open for Verstappen to save his tires on a cleaner drive. Cleaner drive, meaning longer duration on tires. This could be the only advantage Verstappen needs come the end of the race, on newer tires.

        1. If Hamilton leads into turn one I think he can drive pretty much whatever pace he wants. It’s nearly impossible to overtake on this circuit, so with the same car and tyres I don’t think Bottas is a threat. As long as he gets a reasonable exit before the start-finish straight there wouldn’t be any opportunity to overtake.

          1. @keithedin Yeah, plus I’m sure Merc have installed a rule that whoever leads at T1 has won the race, in order to prevent a similar situation as at Silverstone where the Mercs push eachother..

        2. Ajaxn Fair comment. It would be great if Max can push VB into going through his tires quicker, especially if their strategy were to use VB as a blocker. Not that I think they will do that or that VB should accept that role at this stage in the points and the season, but he just seems to naturally not be a ton of bother for LH. As usual let’s see how they start, and then let’s see whose tires do what.

        3. The Skeptic (@)
          16th August 2020, 3:01

          That’s why I hope that Bottas leads into Turn 1. Hamilton will not give up on trying to get back in front.

  2. Tomorrow, at this time the air temperature in Barcelona will be 2 degrees (27 Celsius) less than today (29 Celsius).

    1. @bulgarian The air temp was 30 degrees during qualifying, and tomorrow’s highest daytime temp should be 29 as per the current forecast, although variation is possible.

      1. Good, from Mercedes prospective, that the hottest day in Barcelona GP weekend is behind them.

  3. I have a lovely mental image of Max as a Bond type villain sat in the shadows with a wicked smile on his face.

    1. Haha, he sure has the caracter for it! @nullapax

  4. Hamilton just has to manage his tyres better. He’s got the quickest car by a long margin, weak teammate. No excuse to not win.

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