Mercedes‘ chief technical officer James Allison said tyre troubles were partly behind Sir Lewis Hamilton’s struggles in Monaco over the weekend.
Allison said the team are usually able to use tyre performance to their advantage, but revealed Mercedes have previously struggled to activate the operating window in the same way around Monaco specifically.
Hamilton finished P7 after a tough weekend when he rarely matched team-mate Valtteri Bottas for pace throughout, despite being a three-time winner around Monte Carlo.
While tyre issues were a reason behind Hamilton’s lack of pace overall, Allison says the team still need to look at the bigger picture as to why they lagged behind their main rivals over the weekend.
“We need to figure out why we were slow. It’s the slowness that’s the main pain,” Allison told reporters after the Monaco Grand Prix, quoted by RacingNews365.
“Ironically our car, which one of its best weapons has been its tyre usage on various tracks, on this particular track we always struggle a bit with tyre usage. We are never really getting them happy on a Saturday, so our grid slots are lowly.
“Then on Sunday, although we are okay at the start of the stints, by the end of the first stint when most of the crucial action takes place at this particular track, we were normally all out of ideas with a tyre that dies a little sooner than our competitors’.
“It’s understanding that, which we’ve failed to do for a number of seasons and we need to figure out from first principles, ‘what are we getting wrong at this track?’”
Big debrief planned for today, lots to talk about and to learn from.
This championship is going to go right down to the wire, and we can't afford weekends like Monaco.
We promise you, we're up for this fight 💪 pic.twitter.com/bcHlU42B1y
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 24, 2021
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Allison elaborated on why Bottas was able to get the better of his team-mate in qualifying, as the Finn showed more “confidence” on his flying lap.
Unfortunately for him, a freak pit-stop when his front right tyre would not detach ultimately ended his race, with the team still struggling to remove the tyre even in the aftermath of the race.
“Valtteri was able to get the front tyres happier at the beginning of the lap,” added Allison. “Then for the rest of the lap he had more confidence to welly into the lap and take the car near the barriers, which is what you need to do to get a good qualifying lap.
“Objectively, just a bit of difference in the temperature between the front tyres on the two cars. But both drivers are basically suffering with the front tyres coming in later than the rear tyres, coming into their best window that is.”
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