Mercedes explains why Lewis Hamilton struggled at Imola

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Lewis Hamilton had a terrible time at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and now Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explains exactly why.

Lewis Hamilton was stuck in P14 for most of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and despite being obviously faster, he was unable to pass AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

While many critics used the fact that George Russell managed to finish in P4 as an argument to blast Lewis’ performance, Mercedes reveals there was not much Lewis could do in this situation.

“It’s the same problem that we had in the Sprint race, when you are in what we are calling a DRS train,” Shovlin explained in the team’s race debrief.

“Now, the combined effect of the DRS in Imola plus the tow gives you around half a second of advantage to a car that you are following.

“The issue is that, if that car is following another car, and they themselves have DRS, almost all of that advantage is wiped out, and that was principally the issue that Lewis had; that, because Gasly had DRS, they were following almost an identical speed profile down the straight.

“Lewis wasn’t really able to get alongside, and that was why he spent the whole race rather frustratingly stuck in that position.”


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Shovlin also explained Mercedes had issues with tyre warm-up as well.

“It is fair to say that we struggled with tyre warm-up this weekend,” he continued.

“It was the coldest track we’ve been to, the first time we’ve been running wet conditions in the race, and that certainly cost us in qualifying, leading to those fairly disappointing positions starting the Sprint race.

“On Sunday, the situation wasn’t as bad. Now, whether that’s a function of it being a formation lap rather than out lap, the drivers also worked very hard on how much temperature they could get into the tyres during that formation lap.

“They knew that was going to be a challenge, but, as you saw with George in particular, he made good progress off the line.

“It was challenging for the first few corners, but temperatures did come up okay and that contributed to his strong finish,” the Briton concluded.

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