‘Seriously under control’: Mercedes have a ‘secret weapon’

Mercedes are pushing to take second in the championship away from Ferrari in the final seven rounds of the season.

Dutch racing driver, Tom Coronel, reckons that tyre conservation is Mercedes’ biggest strength as they try to launch a winning bid at the Italian Grand Prix.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both went for the one-stop strategy in the Netherlands last weekend, and it looked as though they could easily make it work for them too.

Hamilton’s long first stint at the French Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix helped to two consecutive second-placed finishes, and he looked in contention for the win in Silverstone too as a result.

Russell picked up third place in Spain after completing the two-stop as opposed to the three, and he competed with Max Verstappen for large parts of the race.

READ: Source: Mercedes to sign Daniel Ricciardo in preparation for Lewis Hamilton’s retirement

However, this has not masked the fact that the Silver Arrows have a fundamentally slower car than Ferrari and Red Bull.

In all but one of the aforementioned races, Verstappen took victory by a comfortable margin, while Carlos Sainz claimed the win at the British Grand Prix.

Nonetheless, it is the longevity of the tyres and the power unit that have made the German side stand out so far in 2022, and they may yet have a shot at second in the Constructor’ Standings.

Sainz and Charles Leclerc have been plagued by misfortune ever since the third round in Melbourne, with strategic nightmares, reliability failures and the odd driver error costing them.

Article continues below

The Monegasque finished third in Zandvoort last weekend behind Russell as Hamilton took fourth, beating the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez as Verstappen took his 10th victory of the season.

Sainz was forced to settle for eighth after he received a penalty for an unsafe release in the pit lane, and the points swing in Mercedes’ favour has brought them back to within 30 points of the Scuderia.

2016 world champion, Nico Rosberg, said he would put “money” on his former team taking second from Ferrari and, if they are to do so, their tyre wear may just play a big part.

“Their weapon is the tyre wear, Mercedes has that seriously well under control,” Coronel told the RacingNews365 podcast. 

READ: FIA warns about ‘severely limited’ view as teams trial bigger mirrors

“You saw that during the Grand Prix of the Netherlands when Lewis Hamilton and George Russell drove on the white, hard tyres. 

“And Zandvoort is normally really a tyre-eating circuit in that regard! That’s the only reason!”

Hamilton and Russell have managed 12 podiums between them so far in 2022, but they still await their first win of the season.