Mercedes seems to want to start again as it started last season. Absolute dominance for the Stuttgart cars in free practice, which not only impressed for their absolute performance, but also for the simplicity with which Toto Wolff and his companions managed to obtain times and speeds.
Indeed, the progression of the top speeds of the Bottas-Hamilton duo is noteworthy, which has consistently been among the fastest on the track also in this respect, contrary to what happened in the past season. The maximum peak of the cars of the star was 326, with Ferrari very far away, stopped at only 318 km / h of maximum speed in the day and 316 in its fastest lap, obtained by Sebastian Vettel with a time of 1: 04.961, almost 7 tenths away from the British rival, first and undisputed in the standings.
Let’s see the comparison of the speed measurements during the entire lap to understand the strengths, weaknesses and differences between the cars.
Mercedes strong in the extensions
The extensions and straight-line speed once again represent the most marked difference in performance between the two cars, but in the opposite way to what we saw last season. It is in fact Mercedes that predominates and has the ability to express important numbers, especially above 250-270. The progress of the speed curves, moreover, indicates very similar power delivery strategies for now between the two Power Units, with Hamilton, however, which seems to benefit from a power-resistance ratio very much in its favor.
SF1000 resists cornering but very slow on the straight
Sebastian Vettel’s SF1000, however, expressed good cornering speed, keeping up with Mercedes number 44 in almost all 10 corners of the track. The exact opposite of what happened in the past season. However, the gap accumulated in all the extensions should be noted, with the first sector, just 16 seconds long, consisting mainly of straights, where the redhead leaves well over 3 tenths on the road.
The feeling is that in Maranello the search for load has given a positive result with regard to the vertical force, but proportionally the resistance to advancement has increased extremely, exactly the opposite of that on the W11. In Stuttgart, in fact, they seem to have renounced a minimum percentage of downforce in favor of a significant drop in drag.
Only tomorrow, with the qualifications, will we have the first answers. The impression is that Ferrari this time is also disadvantaged as the debut takes place on such a fast track, underlining precisely the weak point for the moment of the SF1000. It must be said, however, that on the tire management front, the load helps enormously so that what is expected to be a difficult qualification could then become an interesting race.