How F1 GPS Data Could Help Mercedes Take the Win in Australia

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Max Verstappen was consistently faster than everybody else during the practice rounds on Friday and Saturday morning in Melbourne. However, this difference of 0.4 seconds between him and everyone else suddenly dropped to half as soon as race time came around.

At the beginning of their second race, George Russell and his team (the eight-time constructors’ champion) raced hard but didn’t quite reach Red Bull’s time of 1 minute 16 seconds and 732 milliseconds. Lewis Hamilton was close behind at 0.136 seconds later, which put him in second place on the starting grid followed by Fernando Alonso from Aston Martin.

Due to the changing weather in FP2, no team has been able to do its race practice. However, George Russell said he’ll compete with Max Verstappen even if his car isn’t as good as theirs. After looking at their one-lap speed, it seems that his idea of not giving up is right; this contradicts what happened in the first two rounds of racing. Mercedes had issues during races down under, but they’ve now fixed them all.

The Mercedes team’s fast speed during the qualifying race was not expected, since their car was slower than Red Bull’s. This is because they were taking time to try out different car settings to satisfy both Russell and Hamilton.

The seven-time champion is not very confident because his car’s rear end isn’t stable at lower speeds. He also wants more downforce, so the team tried to switch between different suspension settings to get better grip. However, this made it tricky for the driver as he needs to find the perfect balance in order for the car to work optimally.

Russell felt more comfortable in the car as the day went on, whereas Hamilton came away feeling like their team had taken a step back. Hamilton was struggling with a getaway issue in his car – telemetry showed he was having trouble getting up to speed initially before catching up later on. This suggested that he had an uneasy relationship with the rear axle of his car.

The Red Bull in Saudi Arabia can really turn up the speed. It goes faster than 6mph on some parts of the lap, like Turn 3 and the corners 9 – 10. But, Mercedes comes back with timing when they reach a 90-degree corner. So it’s almost neck-and-neck between them!

Mercedes prepared their car to do well in the race instead of just during qualifying, so that the tyres would last for longer in the cooler conditions. Both drivers were expecting to get fifth place at best when they practised on Friday.

When they increased their engine power, Mercedes got very close to Red Bull in their race performance. On Saturday, Max Verstappen only went 1.2 mph quicker than George Russell did when driving into the first turn of the track. Compared to earlier practice runs, the machine difference before reaching the braking zone in Turn 3 was much less than what it used to be- only 3 mph apart!

The Red Bull and W14 cars were very close in a race around Albert Park. When they made it to Turn 6, the Mercedes machines got ahead first. But then Verstappen had better acceleration so he moved ahead again. The three cars kept switching places until the lap was finished.

The difference between the fastest lap times from the first practice session to Qualifying 3 isn’t huge. Mercedes doesn’t change magically from being slow in corners to super quick at low speed, which means they haven’t found a miracle solution.

In qualifying, the Red Bull managed to do really well at Turn 9-10 since it could turn quickly. Even if the Mercedes was still slightly faster going into Turn 11, Max Verstappen pulled ahead when he had to brake.

Nicholas Russell and Lewis Hamilton then accelerated quicker than Verstappen through the last two corners and on to the finish line, reducing the gap between them and Verstappen from 0.236 seconds. This made the race competition much closer.

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