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Mercedes targeting improved starts over strategy in wake of British GP

Written by  Jul 11, 2018

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes getting on terms with Ferrari in terms of race starts is more important than the possible strategy mistakes his team has made in recent weeks.

In France and Austria, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen respectively, used a tyre advantage to challenge into the first corner, however, at Silverstone, it was simply wheelspin that saw Lewis Hamilton lose two places by the first corner before being involved in the infamous collision with Raikkonen at Turn 3 which spin his car around.

Traditionally this is another area where the German manufacturer hasn't been the strongest, with both Williams getting ahead memorably by Turn 1 in 2015 at the same race another example where it has let the team down.

"We need to find some performance in the race starts to avoid incidents like we saw [at Silverstone]," Wolff said. "What we need to understand is where can we improve and where can we engineer."

Explaining what happened, chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin added: "There was a bit less grip on the grid than we were expecting.

“We had done practice starts there and at Silverstone they do actually allow you do a start from the grid, but for some reason on Sunday, we didn’t quite have what we expected and as soon as you get the wheelspin, you lose traction - and that lost him places quickly.

"We know very well that if we qualify on pole we have got to get off the line as well as the Ferraris, and that is what we will be trying to do in Hockenheim."

The strategy was also in the spotlight again in Britain as a decision to leave Valtteri Bottas out on used Mediums during the first Safety Car, though gave the Finn track position over Vettel, would see him drop back to fourth by the finish as his grip ran out.

“I think the strategy was pretty good," Wolff insisted. "We decided to go for the track position. It was the right call in my view, and we wouldn’t have won the race otherwise in my opinion. So [I'm] fine with that. 

“I think that both strategies are valid, but doing the opposite [to Ferrari] was the choice we went for and at the end, it brought us a P2 and P4.

"Considering how the race started, we need to accept the result as an acceptable outcome with real damage limitation."

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