Long straights will give Red Bull home advantage, predicts Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton expects Red Bull and Max Verstappen to be just as formidable in the Styrian and Austrian Grands Prix as they proved in France.

In brief

Hamilton: Red Bull Ring could suit Red Bull’s package

After missing out on victory at the French Grand Prix, Hamilton said he believes Red Bull could hold the advantage at their home circuit, scene of the next two rounds.

“It’s a power-hungry circuit, got those long, long straights so we could see something similar to this weekend,” said Hamilton.

“Obviously with the straight line speed of the Red Bull, but we’ve got three days to try and see if we can make any adjustments and improvements and maybe if we maximise absolutely everything maybe we can give them a run for their money.”

Ricciardo: McLaren ‘feeling more like home’

Moving up the grid from tenth to sixth in the French Grand Prix left Daniel Ricciardo feeling more ‘at home’ with his McLaren team.

“After the frustrations of Monaco, I kind of took a step back and I was like, big picture,” said Ricciardo. “I know if I just keep persisting and staying resilient through it all, then days like this will come and I’ll be able to battle and pull off some moves and all that sort of stuff. So this car will feel like home. And I think today it started to feel a little more like home.”

Tsunoda passes three cars on first lap starting from pits

Tsunoda rebounded from qualifying crash
Yuki Tsunoda dispatched three cars on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix, despite starting from the pit lane.

“The first lap was really good, I started from the pitlane and managed to make up three places,” explained Tsunoda.

“We got stuck behind the Alfa Romeos, who were on a different compound, so we tried to make the undercut work with the hards. I had to push from the very beginning on that tyre though and by the end of the race they were completely gone. I now just need to work on my qualifying so that I can start the race further up the grid and have a better chance of scoring points.”

Bottas ‘could not remember’ his last points finish

After a frustrating French Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas kept his fourth place finish in perspective.

“Yeah, disappointing. At least I got some points – I can’t remember the last time I got points, so that’s something,” said Bottas.

“But I think it could have been a lot more today as a team. I think we realised too late that a two-stop was the winning strategy and for me in the second stint, the last fifteen, ten laps was like a nightmare, I had no front tyres left. And the last ten laps I could see the canvas on the front left and I was just hoping to get to the finish line.”

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Comment of the day

While George Russell was frustrated not to score points despite passing several drivers who started ahead of him, @thegianthogweed identifies a pattern with the Williams driver…

He also could well have finished higher up had he not lost 4 places in the first 2 laps. He even fell to 19th briefly. He had a good recovery, but he really needs to sort his launches and preparation laps out if he expects a close points finish to result in points. Russell far too often goes backwards instantly and then recovers. Although he was incredibly quick today, his early mistake cost him a lot of time. He was still behind Latifi who was far slower than him on lap 17.

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On this day in F1

Today in 1981 Gilles Villenuve dragged his “fast, red Cadillac” – Ferrari’s 126CK – to victory

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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23 comments on “Long straights will give Red Bull home advantage, predicts Hamilton”

  1. What a race, Spain 1981. Sort of like Imola 2005, with Alonso’s flawless defense from Schumacher. In these miserable DRS times this has become very rare, but we still had Leclerc’s most glorious day, defending from the Mercs in Monza 2019. The first half of the second stint today, from Max’s undercut until his strategic second pitstop, was also remarkable.

    1. Wasn’t imola 2006 as interesting as 2005 when it comes to battle for the lead but with roles reversed? For obvious reasons I preferred 2006!

      Monza 2019 was indeed great, also austin 2018.

  2. It was great to see a little of the Ricciardo of old during the race as he executed a number of fairly difficult overtakes.

    Let’s hope he can continue to build on that and we see more of the Mclaren’s in the “best of the rest” – going to be a massive battle for 3rd this year with a secondary battle at the front between RBR and Mercedes.

  3. Just speculating but I wonder if Merc backed off the development of the 2021 in favour of the 2022 car to soon leaving RB to jump ahead, now they are facing some real competition. Yesterdays race was one and lost in the strategy room Merc seemed unable to think on their feet while RB took a calculated risk and won.
    Great to see McLaren up towards the front. Still to early to be sure but I hope this is a sign that Ricciardo is starting to get to grips with the car.
    The rest of the season looks good for us fans so bring it on.

    1. Lachlan Moore
      21st June 2021, 3:59

      Another theory I’ve seen is to be in 2nd half way through the championship to get the extra windtunnel time. Smart but risky move unless the W12 is a lot faster. I doubt this is the case unless this years car is even more dominant then last years and I certainly hope this isn’t the case.

    2. RandomMallard (@)
      21st June 2021, 8:26

      @johnrkh If I were Mercedes I would potentially think that winning the 8th double in a row would be more important than losing this year but winning again next year, because in the second instance their streak would be broken. The PU will still be very similar so they will still be strong next season in that regard, so I’m inclined to wonder if they might delay 2022 work a little bit for this year’s championship.

      1. @randommallard, I doubt any team would sacrifice next year’s preparations to any extent.

      2. @randommallard @jerejj I think the top teams are quite capable of doing both, but I have always felt that if you are in with a shout now, then that has to be the focus, for why give up what you have at hand for the unknown of next year? There is no guarantee you’re building the winning car for next year, but if you have a good solid shot this year, you can’t squander that…the tangible for the intangible, based on pure speculation of where next year’s car might sit amongst the competition. Of course easy said from an armchair, but no…I can’t see either RBR or Mercedes ‘giving up’ this season for an unknown and a hope for next year. Both teams are still going to have to believe they’re coming up with a great 2022 car in spite of what they’re doing with this year’s car resources wise. As well, as long as both teams are putting the pressure on each other this year, then they can each rest assured neither one of them can fully concentrate on next year’s car until the math dictates they might as well.

    3. Davethechicken
      21st June 2021, 17:26

      Merc told us last year that they stopped working on the 2020 car to get a head start the next year.
      Hasn’t worked out too well for them!
      RBR have done a fine job to improve their car so much last year and followed on into this year to be the class of the field, aided by an ever improving Honda engine.
      Their high rake concept has been aided by the changes in rules but thus is always the way in F1 and few people enjoy dominant teams and drivers romping to easy wins

  4. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    21st June 2021, 3:11

    Lewis and Toto really can’t help or stop themselves playing the underdog and/or victim.

    7 too long years they were utterly dominate, they still have the fastest car on the harder tyres yet pretty much every interview they say Red Bull is faster.

    They are 0.3 seconds faster on straights, funny Mercs had purple in S1
    There flexinrear wings gives a 0.6 second benefit in Baku – didn’t see that. I did see the Merc wing flexing sll lver the place also in France.

    1. Funny thing is I think Mercedes would have won that if they’d made Hamilton stop a 2nd time before Verstappen.

      1. They could well have yeah @eurobrun.

        As for the speed of the Red Bull’s which got Hamilton so rattled, sure, a new engine helped as well, but really it was a setup choice to go for a skinny rear wing here, while Mercedes ran more downforce to be faster in the corners, where more laptime can be gained.

        The flex wings are gone now anyway, that was part of the reason why RB went for skinny rear wings @jelle-van-der-meer. And with Austria having less need for downforce, I would think the Mercedes will also be running DF levels more comparable to Red Bull in Austria, so who knows which car will be the faster on the straights!

  5. Let’s hope what Lewis is saying if true. Fingers crossed

  6. Lewis, you guys went for a higher downforce setup. Red Bull went for the wing that was used in Baku.

    1. He knows… its just pr

  7. Why are Mercedes and Hamilton acting as if Red Bull beat them by about 0.7s in qualifying and 30s in the race? Last I checked they were within 1.5 laps of winning, and that too on the inferior strategy. And Red Bull’s straight-line speed advantage was because they decided to trim their rear wing, not some suspicious engine tactics. Mercedes have the option of running a skinnier rear wing if they are so worried about top end speed.

  8. RandomMallard (@)
    21st June 2021, 8:28

    From what I’ve read so far, the very early weather forecast for Styria is predicting 5 straight days of heavy rain or thunderstorms from Thursday to Sunday. That could be interesting.

  9. What are these long straights Lewis talks about? We’re not going to China.

    1. @john-h Other circuits have straights too, but in this case, he’s, of course, referring to the next one, i.e., Red Bull Ring. BTW, Chinese GP could still happen this year.

      1. But to refer to the straight as a “long one” for Red Bull ring..
        A bit a stretch

        1. Although the main straight at the Red Bull Ring isn’t that long, in total there are 3 straights though.

  10. 3rd place in the Spanish GP, so not hugely long ago.

    I agree with the COTD.

  11. Re Tsunoda: Nice performance.
    Re Bottas: Either he thinks it’s over or he’s fighting for the seat so he couldn’t remember his last points finishes.
    Re Novalak: Next time will be your time, Clément. You will keep the rivals close.

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