“The midfield is fast now so it’s quite difficult to overtake anywhere”: Mercedes worried about the overtaking intricacies in Turkey.
Mercedes have decided to opt for the inevitable engine penalty for Lewis Hamilton at the Turkish GP after much deliberation. However, instead of changing the entire power unit, the Brackley-based team has only changed the ICE resulting in a penalty of only 10 spots. Mercedes’ head of trackside operations, Andrew Shovlin, explained why they chose Turkey to make the change.
Taking the engine penalty at a track that suits the Mercedes car less, such as Mexico, would not have been the best decision as it would have made it more difficult for them to regain positions, says Shovlin. The team feels that the Istanbul track suits them well and will give them a good chance at attacking.
However, the head of trackside operations did express some concern over just how well the car would perform in the middle of all the traffic. He said: “The midfield is fast now, so it’s quite difficult to overtake anywhere.”
Is Ferrari an obstacle for Mercedes in Turkey?
One of the prominent thorns in Mercedes’ side on Sunday can be the pace of Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari. On Friday, Leclerc turned in an immense lap which gave him P2 in the second Final Practice session.
While questions have been raised over the fuel loads, which were used at the time of the session, Mercedes still have to remain wary of Ferrari’s pace in the midfield as they might pose a challenge to overtake.
Luckily for them, the Scuderia’s Carlos Sainz will be starting from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty which means that the Ferrari threat has been cut by half.
Shovlin reiterated the importance of the race start for Hamilton. “Whether we can get Lewis back on the podium, that’s often defined [by] what happens in the first stint, whether you can pick off some of those cars because throughout that stint the race leaders are always getting away from you.”
Commentators: “that last sector is very tricky… it’s very very slow and drivers need to find a balance there.”
Lewis Hamilton: *goes purple on sector 3 three times*#TurkishGP
— deni (@fiagirly) October 8, 2021
Talking about the team’s expectations for the rest of the weekend, he summarised: “As much as the drivers’ championship draws everyone’s focus to what’s going on with Lewis, with Valtteri the objective is quite clear that we need to get pole and we want him to win the race.”