Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Imola, 2021

Mercedes dug deeper and found gains after being “stung” by Red Bull – Allison

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix spurred Mercedes on to find performance gains from their car, says the team’s technical director James Allison.

Having been beaten to pole position by almost four tenths of a second in the season-opening round, Mercedes did “a heap of work in simulation” in the three-week break before this weekend’s race, said Allison. Valtteri Bottas said yesterday he lost count of how many set-up configurations they experimented with.

It worked as he was quickest in Friday’s two practice sessions, and Allison said the team has seen clear signs of progress.

“It’s always a little bit easier when things are cool and the wind is low,” he said. “But we’ve definitely got the car happier than it was in Bahrain and we’ve had a pretty profitable couple of sessions.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Red Bull gave Mercedes a scare in Bahrain
The team’s simulator work was focused on “trying to see the areas in which the car was protesting gently at us over there and finding a balance through the corner that works better,” Allison explained. “But the key is nearly always the same, and that is making sure the tyres are the right temperature front and rear axle from braking through apex and on the way out.”

Although the team’s work rate is “always pretty intense”, Allison admitted their sub-par start to the season had driven them to do better. “I think it’s human nature that when you get stung, you leap around a bit more intensely than you might otherwise,” he said.

“We love the race, we love the fight, but we don’t enjoy feeling second-best. The Red Bull was quicker than us in Bahrain and we’ve been doing our best to try and move our car forward so that we don’t have to suffer that sting any longer than we have to. But it’s nearly always pretty intense, it just goes up a notch.”

Allison said he took extra satisfaction from winning with the second-fastest car in Bahrain after dominating the previous season.

“It’s a different sensation from last year. I said internally and externally that although last year it was amazing in many ways – collectively we produced one of the all-time great racing cars and had a season that was pretty immaculate – there are not too many parts of last year that are deeply, deeply memorable.

“Because an easy win doesn’t linger in the mind like one that is is fought for tooth and claw like that one in Bahrain and winning from a position of underdog, which is what we definitely were, is just a brilliant experience. And you remember it forever.

“I know I’ll be boring my grandkids if I’m ever lucky enough to have them.”

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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29 comments on “Mercedes dug deeper and found gains after being “stung” by Red Bull – Allison”

  1. Yeah, they come back stronger from every one of these. Exactly what makes it such a challenge to beat them over the season! Good luck Red Bull in pulling even.

    1. I am afraid Bahrain was just a one off as agreed with Liberty. Musnt keep losing audience… Mercedes will resume their winning and make Lewis cruise to his eight

      1. “Agreed with Liberty”.

        Lol, keep taking the tablets!

  2. Yeah whatever. More poor mouthing from Merc. When they start losing lots of races, then I’ll believe their hysterics.

    1. What hysterics? They were out-qualified by 4 tenths of a second in Bahrain and won the race with adequate pace and superior strategy lol.

      1. They lost in abu dhabi… last season.

      2. Yeah they took the sandbags out after qualy for once, instead of before

    2. Stop for a minute, review what you just wrote and then measure it against an objective and technical analysis of F1 racing…

      Reply moderated
    3. Ditto. All this looks like a desperate effort to convince tired fans there’s actually some competition happening.

      1. This exactly. Its one thing that you have taken the fun out of F1, but to subsequently treath us like we cant see whats going on is an insult. Lewis will cruise to its eight, like he cruised to its seventh, sixt, fifth etc. The brand love is gone Toto.

  3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    16th April 2021, 23:16

    Mercedes do their best to be as unlikable as possible.

    1. I have never found them to be offensive and the have made Lewis the GOAT which is a fantastic achievement. Ferrari will always be my favourite team, but F1 would have been a dull place without Mercedes

      Reply moderated
    2. Mercedes are great at everything they try.. Including this.

  4. Tommy Scragend
    16th April 2021, 23:26

    Whereas Aston Force Racing India Martin Point just whinged about it.

  5. They always find “inmediately” something to improve the car and recover the lead, while the rest of the teams struggles for years to rip tenths from the clock… something isn’t right, have these people being cheating all the time and FIA just could have not find how?

    1. Agreed and I’ve had suspicions for a long time.

      1. It is strange. I mean if it a 1 or 2 tenths I’d understand but to find nearly half a second in 3 weeks….. we’ll see I guess

        1. your comment would make sense if they were racing in Bahrein again, with the same weather and tyres and leading Red Bull this time.

          It’s a different track, different weather and different tyres, and Verstappen could not put a lap together on FP2. So how can you say they made half a second gain since Bahrein?

          1. Exactly. Emotion over thought and logic. Sad.

          2. That’s fair enough I accept that there are other variables involved rather than just development.

            I can’t reply to the other post but I’m actually basing my opinion on evidence from the last 7 years. I guess we’ll find out today!

    2. Yes, I’m suspicious as well.

    3. @stigf1l They’re just good. Really good. The rest much less so. Red Bull are clearly close, but reliability of the Honda powered cars already looks fragile.

      Cheating? Lol

  6. Alleluia, Amen what a miracle! I now can see light again. The same lieght of old.

  7. Well, they certainly look better than last race, but while they hit the ground running at Imola, we haven’t seen the best of Red Bull yet.

    I just hope both Bulls can be there near the front from the start on Sunday and give Merc a proper battle.

    1. There’s so much wailing and gnashing of teeth, it’s hilarious.

      In FP1 the top three were separated by less that 6/100s. In FP2, Gasly was less than 7/100s off Hamilton and Verstappen didn’t set a representative time. Do people really think Gasly would have been faster than Verstappen?

      My bet is Verstappen on pole by 3-4/10s.

  8. Ditto. All this looks like a desperate effort to convince tired fans there’s actually some competition happening.

  9. Your all talking absolute nonsense with all your suspensions and other conspiracy theories , as if Mercedes are cheating they are Simply the best team since the hybrid era and like over the years Ferrari Williams and Maclaren were all teams who were best in there field and the teams to beat in past . So why any difference for Mercedes they are dominating the sport and the team to beat especially with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel as so many people like to express there feelings that he is not a good driver and its the care and yet again utter rubbish 🙄. As like in all Sports someone extraordinary with natural talent will come along and dominate the sport same as Michael Schumacher did , also Mike Tyson so did Michael Jordon , Tiger Woods etc etc and you get the picture so it is upto Redbull to try and Stop them and if they do they will of been the better team and Driver , so as far as I see it it’s Game on and let the battle commence. 😉

    Reply moderated
  10. I understand that we should celebrate the feat, but after a point of time, it stops being a competition if the result is always the same, no matter what. It feels more like Mercedes are going up against a bunch of fools, and this has been pretty much the same since 2014. Doesn’t really feel like Formula 1.

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