Though all cars and drivers have been put through their paces in the first 4 races in the season, it is yet again Mercedes that shows that little of “extra” talent in the races – both with their cars and strategical approach.
This may not be news anymore but their mentality and the decision to execute a “dummy trial start” against Ferrari and indeed all their competitors in Qualifying in Baku was very telling of a team that are not just thinking of the “now”, but also of the “next”, and the next after that. For them F1 is a game of chess that they seem to be playing very well – so much so that at the moment they look like the only team who are playing at all.
They knew that staying behind the field for their last qualifying run would give them the tow they needed in the straight to grap pole position. A tow on Baku’s main straight alone is worth 0.4s according to the team in their post analysis video, and so they set their strategy in motion. By pretending to be going out for their last laps in Q3 they set in motion other cars to follow them out of the pits, but last minute both Mercedes pulled in at the end of the pitlane to try “practice starts”. The master stroke move meant they were now last in the queue to complete a lap and with plenty of tow for their drivers.
For a team to be able to think ahead of the game before qualifying, go over the minor details with the drivers and execute to perfection under immense pressure on a track where they knew they weren’t the favourites is beyond impressive. Mercedes’s mentality and decision-making skills under pressure is what makes them World Champions and allows them to compete even when they are not on the pace. Fast car or not I fear the German team will be very hard to beat and whether you are a fan or not, nobody can deny the professionalism in which Mercedes seems to dispose of their rivals.
But its not just about strategy. Their execution is on point, every time. Double stacking their stops in China was proof of just how sharp Mercedes are operating at the moment. It was delivered to absolute perfection and it left Ferrari scratching their heads.
A real F1 fan knows that even if Ferrari get on top of their car and manage to work the tyres to keep them in the sweet spot they simply won’t be Mercedes in execution. It seems every time Ferrari attempts to deliver something half clever they end up shooting themselves in the foot. If anything, it is Red Bull that is comparable to Mercedes in their execution of strategies and pit stops and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the ones closer to the World Champions at the end of the season.
- Photocredit: Twitter