Mercedes AMG F1 team did not have the 2018 Canadian GP everyone expected. The Silver Arrows has been dominant at this track in the Hybrid-engine era. The only blip came in 2014 when the relibaility issues of both Mercedes drivers handed the race win to Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Valtteri Bottas in second place and Lewis Hamilton in fifth place was the result the team left Canada with. Hamilton lost his lead in the drivers’ championship to Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes’ lead in the constructors’ championship to Ferrari was cut to 17 points.
Mercedes AMG F1 Debrief of the Canadian GP
James Vowles, Mercedes Chief Strategist, debriefs the Canadian GP and explains the pitstop strategy and the reasons for it.
Mercedes Had a Less Than Ideal Race
Mercedes drivers had to use the first engine of the 2018 season for the seventh race at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. At this power track, all the other engine manufacturers brought updated new specification engines. But both Mercedes drivers were hampered by using the old engine with the mileage of six races on it. This probably cost Bottas pole position.
The Silver Arrows has not performed well on the new softest compound Pirelli tyre – the hypersofts. This was the fastest tyre and the tyre of choice of the other teams. As the Mercedes drivers had only 5 sets of these tyres, they had to save the tyres for qualification. So the drivers were hampered further without sufficient practice on these tyres in the free practice sessions.
During the race Hamilton who qualified fourth had to fall back to fifth as he dealt with engine heating issues in the race. Bottas managed to stay ahead of Verstappen to take second even as he was in fuel saving mode in the last laps.
Toto Wolff Was Not Happy
Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss, was not happy with the performance of his team in Canada.
Wolff said: “I’m the opposite of confident. I think this is – we’ve had it in the past – a major wake up call for every single member of the team.
“Everybody needs to assess how to improve performance in order to optimise on those marginal gains, because those marginal gains are going to make all the difference.
“We were coming to Montreal expecting our car to be really strong and we’re leaving Montreal seeing we haven’t been where we thought we should be.
“There is not the historic pattern of cars strong on certain circuits and weak on others. I still think we’re not pretty good in Monaco and Singapore. They are the outliers, but you have to expect everyone to be strong everywhere.”
French Grand Prix Next
The French GP returns to the F1 calendar this year. The next race at this track with long straights is also a track that will suit Mercedes. They will be hoping to return to form there.