Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Mercedes explains stall in Lewis Hamilton contract talks

Mercedes edges Ferrari on second day of in-season F1 testing			Image by Portlock  LAT Mercedes edges Ferrari on second day of in-season F1 testing Image by Portlock LAT
Cassandra Gardner | 18 May, 2018, 11:16

The Spanish Grand Prix had the symmetrical line-up of the Mercedes locking the front row, then the Ferraris and the Red Bulls at the start of the race on Sunday.

Although the fast, sweeping Barcelona layout bears little resemblance to the narrow confines of Monaco's streets, the Circuit de Catalunya's final sector does present a chance for teams to get a read on their respective car's slow-speed performance. Aitken is a Renault development driver and his test on Wednesday came three days after he secured his first F2 sprint race win of the season on Sunday.

"I think it's just how you feel towards each other and there is no reason why we shouldn't be racing with each other for a few more years".

"It was a good day and a relatively interesting test, I'm glad we did it", he said.

At the start, Hamilton took the lead from pole position and Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) moved to P2 after overtaking Bottas into Turn 1.

The remaining laps saw Bottas nurse his wheels which he had used for more than two thirds of the race to the finish line.

"Lewis was able to control the race and whilst we could have gone longer on that first stint, the front tyre was quite worn and we made a decision to stop as a precaution as there was no real threat from behind", he said. "This put Lewis behind [Max] Verstappen but we knew he had to stop so there was no urgency to pass. We know what went wrong past year", said Wolff, who pointed out that Barcelona had always been a strong track for Mercedes in races and testing. "We had to stop again and we obviously lost two positions, and also a bit of time during the pit stop itself".

"In the end it was hard because I did almost 45 laps with the medium!" he said, adding that one-stopping had never been the team's original strategy.

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"We wanted to take care of the racing car.The ink is nearly dry, and when it is, we'll let you know", Wolff said.

"We were expecting a two stop race today and when Vettel stopped on lap 17 we hoped to be able to overcut taking advantage of poor warm-up on the medium".

That changed in Spain, as the Ferrari drivers struggled to get the best out of the tyres and struggled with wear. The trouble we have now is that with the modern cars carrying so much downforce, Turn 1 isn't a long braking zone and the only decent braking zone into Turn 10 comes after two corners where it's very hard to follow the vehicle in front.

"Everything's going fine", Wolff told reporters during the Barcelona Grand Prix, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

The Briton went on to miss out on the podium in four of the next six outings before eventually hitting his stride fully at Spa - a race that marked the beginning of a title-clinching run of five wins in six.

"But as a team it's all a good race", he said. To get the one-two, it's such a great result for everyone.

"We've definitely got ourselves on to the right path".

"Of course we do not want to lose him, but I also believe that he doesn't want to go somewhere else".

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