In a video broadcasted on their social media platforms, Mercedes has made an assessment
of the first defeat of their 2020 campaign. Having had a clean sweep so far, the defending
champion was favorite to win the second leg of the two races held at the Silverstone circuit. But
the heat, among other factors, ultimately prompted the team's winning streak to come to an end.
In the seven minutes footage, Andrew Shovlin, the Mercedes' trackside engineering director,
provided some hindsight answers to why the race didn't pan out the way they expected.
Why starting on mediums instead of the hard tyres?
"We had discussed the possibility that RedBull might choose to start on the hard tyre. We knew
that the tyre was quick enough to get it through Q2, so it was possible from that point of view.
And also, if they thought they were going to be behind us on the grid, it would give them the
opportunity to do something different. When we had those discussions though, we did decide
that we will still wanted to start both our cars on the medium tyre. Now, that's the tyre with less
life in it. We thought it would be a good tyre off the line, it would have good initial grip, good
initial pace. But the issue is if you start on the hard and there's an early safety car, you are then
drawn into running that medium for a longer period during the race. Now, as it happens, we didn't
have the pace really to compete with them, we were having to drive slowly to look after the tyres
and fundamentally that was how they won the race. Regardless of start tyre, I think it would have
been extremely difficult for us to win with those problems that we had."
Why was the tyre blistering so critical on Sunday compared to Friday and Saturday?
"The track was actually a bit cooler on the Friday, so that was one of the reasons that it was
easier to avoid the blistering."
"The big issue for us on Sunday was just that our temperatures were clearly hotter than others,
we were having to slow down to control it and that was fundamentally where the big loss of
Why pitting Bottas that early for the third stint?
"There were a couple of reasons that fed into the decision to stop Valtteri at that point. We
had asked him how the tyres were doing, wether he could do a few more laps and he said it
was probably OK to do another three or so. The levels of vibration were increasing and that's
because the blisters create an imbalance in the tyres, so as it rotates, it starts to vibrate. So, he
was feeling that. But also we had Leclerc, who at this point was going quite quick behind him,
so Valtteri was a few seconds behind Verstappen, Leclerc was further down the road but we
were worried that if Leclerc moved towards them, Valtteri would lose that pitstop window that
he needed to take that stop and he would end up dropping behind Leclerc. So, that was the main
reason. With hindsight, Leclerc drops of his pace a bit after that so it may have been possible to
eke it out by another lap or two, but it wouldn't have been by many."
Why didn't Bottas close the gap to Verstappen when on same tyres?
"After that stop, it was quite clear to us that Verstappen was actually managing his car,
managing his tyres. So he wasn't running flat-out, he was just focused on getting it to the finish.
He was in P1, he'd done everything that he needed to do. In Valtteri's situation, we didn't really
have the car pace to attack. If we closed up the car in front, you lose downf8,you start sliding
around and the tyres situation gets worse. But, I mean, the fundamental answer is we weren't
really quick enough to put pressure on a RedBull that day."
Was a one-stopper strategy considered for Hamilton?
"We never seriously considered keeping Lewis on a one-stop to the finish. It was just a question
of when we were going to make that final stop. We could already see some degradation, so his
times were dropping. That's the main reason that we knew we couldn't go to the end of the race
on that tyre. And then the next question is when you are going to so the stop, you have got to
make 6early enough that he can catch up to the cars in front and attack them. Now, tyre choice
wise we decided to go to the hard tyre. Even that tyre blistered, in that short space of time. So it
provided more resistance though to the blistering and actually the hard was really good tyre. It
was fast and if you are attacking people, it would cope better with any sliding from the reduced
downforce. So, while the medium would have been a possibility, for us it was always going to be
the hard that we took."
Why were the rears more of an issue compared to the previous week with the fronts?
"Last week's problem with the front tyres is very different to the issue we had this week with
the rear tyres. So the problem on the front, well that was a deterioration of the casing from
fatigue. Every time the tyres turns, it is deflecting, and it is under an awful lot of load. Vertical
load, so it is having to bend the carc6to form that contact patch, and then also a lot of lateral
load and longitudinal load as you corner and brake. And over the period of the race, that starts
to deteriorate the casing. Now Pirelli have fixed that problem by just adding 2psi to the front tyre
and this week it seemed to be in a very good place. The issue on the rear though, that's one of
temperature. And we were getting the centre of the tyre very hot. Now, there is, when it gets hot,
it starts sliding and it generates more heat, the pressures go up and you end up with a bit of a
vicious circle, where you are losing grip and keeping it under control becomes harder and harder
as you go through the stint. So we need to look this week at how we can improve that issue with
the rear, try and understand exactly what was happening because it is the first time we have seen
it this year, and just make sure that we have some tools in place to deal with it better when we
get to another hot race."
Do you expect to face the same issues in Spain considering the hot temperatures predicted?
"I think we'd be foolish to say that we are not going to see this problem again and we are
not going to see it in Spain. So we need to be looking at solutions and if we can make good
progress this week, in the next few days, try and understand the nature of our problem and
that's why were we so much worse than the others, then I'd like to think we can get on top of it
for Spain. But there's no doubt Spain is going to be tough, Spa after Spain, that's another very
high-energy circuit where you can get blistering. So our focus in terms of performance is all
about how can we get the tyres cooler, how can we avoid this problem. So, hopefully we won't
see it again, but I think Spain will be a good test of whether we have made the progress that we
need to. "