Mercedes are in quite a fix at Silverstone today, as Hamilton has pole position but Bottas is behind both the Ferraris.
Now, if Hamilton manages to sustain his top spot through that first lap, he could be in the clear for another win at Silverstone.
However, for Bottas, who is 6th in driver’s standings, the need to step up and get past those Ferraris is very high.
Bottas had a slight mistake on this fast Silverstone track in Q3 and that led to Mercedes losing out on a potential 1-2, just like in Austria.
While that 1-2 in Austria didn’t quite work out for them, a 1-2 here in Silverstone would have been the perfect way to bounce back.
Just prior to the race, Toto Wolff has suggested that Mercedes could be ringing in a split strategy in order to get both their drivers on the podium.
“We will be going full attack,” said Wolff.
“And part of that could well be two different strategies and just trying to be aggressive.
“If we can stay in the lead, I think Lewis at Silverstone, he’s a force. But obviously if you’re being overtaken at the start or on the first lap, then the whole thing becomes trickier.” he added.
Valterri admitted to the fact that he is down on the driver’s rankings and will need to target the big points in order to rise up the charts.
“Yeah, we definitely need to find a way,” said the Finn.
“Every race now, it’s going to be extremely important for us to try to get more points than Ferrari, and for myself, I think I’m only sixth in the drivers’ standings, so for sure I need to start getting those bigger points.
“I think for Lewis, if he gets a good getaway, then it’s normally more straightforward, but we’ll see.” he added.
Bottas also commented on how the tyres could maybe work in Mercedes’ favour, as they had next to non blistering during Free practice, whereas, Ferrari did get some of it.
“We’ve seen they suffered with blistering [on Friday], we didn’t,” Bottas said
“But [Sunday]’s again a new day and we’re going to be seeing longer stints than in practice two. So there are still a lot of question marks.
“It’s going to be an extremely close race with Ferrari, and a lot is going to be down to who can really take care of the tyres, and not overheat or blister them too much.” he added.
Wolff wants Hamilton to stay in the lead after lap 1, so that he can control the pace of the race and not be forced to attack a lot in those conditions.
With the track temperatures set to be on the higher side, blistering could be a massive issue, but Mercedes feel that they are well adept to handling it today.
“The heat is not what our car likes,”Wolff explained.
“And you can see the difference in performance with FP3 and qualifying, with 10 degrees C higher track temperatures.
“Same ambient is predicted for [Sunday], so it could be a difficult race for all cars. We’ve seen some blistering on the Ferrari [on Friday] their long run wasn’t spectacular, ours was a bit better.
“I think it’s about where you end up after lap one, whether you’re able to manage it from the front, or whether you have to attack. The moment you have to attack you are obviously more under threat with degradation or blistering than the lead car.
“You can see that at Red Bull, the car that was in the lead, Max [Verstappen] in Austria, was managing his pace and had no problem at all. And the same car attacking [Daniel Ricciardo] had heavy blistering, an identical car.
“Everything is easier if you control the pace from the front.” Wolff concluded.