Heat to melt Mercedes

Verstappen is confident that Barcelona temperatures will bring Red Bull back competitive against Hamilton, who applauds the challenge: "It's exciting."


"There was no party. I don't like alcohol," Max Verstappen boasts. He doesn't emulate the spirit of James Hunt off the court, but inside he does act like the sports star that he is. The Dutchman comes from beating the Mercedes in the second race at Silverstone and hopes to at least try it this weekend at Montmeló, a circuit that brings back good memories because here he achieved his first F1 victory, in 2016. Then the arrows silver collided in the first round, now that scenario seems unlikely because Bottas is not fiery like Rosberg and Hamilton does not feel pressure.

In the absence of sparks, Verstappen needs heat to nag them on Sunday. Although this track is well known, it was not frequented in August. Between discussions about the temperature, at the Circuit it got cold because it started to rain, but in the next few days the fat drop will sweat. Not by maximum, around 30ºC, but by the humidity that is around 60% and 50ºC that can be reached on the surface of an abrasive asphalt. "The temperatures will be high and some teams are doing better than others. The key was that the soft compounds worked for us at Silverstone and Mercedes did not, they were much slower than usual. Under those circumstances you can push and you find a lot. grip while the opponent has blisters ", sums up Max, who does not appreciate a revival of the Red Bull RB16:" We still need pace in qualifying, although for now I am happy with my position in the championship (second, 30 points behind the British champion) " .

A Mercedes has never done well in the heat, they have had cooling problems in the past and a common way to solve them is to increase the air intakes in the car in exchange for losing downforce. In England they suffered because the Pirelli soft range did not work for them, although in Barcelona the usual catalog is recovered with the three hardest compounds. Hamilton speaking: "Some perform better on a hot track. I don't know if the hard compound will help, I don't think so, it's a rubber that has been used here last year but this time it will be under a higher temperature." The Englishman, in any case, applauds the challenge: "Red Bull looks good. It doesn't make us nervous, it's exciting" .

In conversation with AS, Carlos Sainz explains the possibilities of a two-stop strategy, with more unknowns in Catalonia: "We all know that a two-stop race is possible this weekend, but it will depend on traffic. Those of us who went to two in Silverstone we got into traffic and here it will be the same case. The blisters, because of the heat and dirty air, are magnified. The desire to stop in the pits to exit behind a car is less and there will be teams that try to go to a ".

Ferrari lowers expectations

Among the Mercedes and Red Bull garages is Maranello, but the Italians lower expectations on the track that uncovered, during the preseason, the weaknesses of the SF1000. "It will be more difficult than in England, I am quite convinced of this," says Leclerc, who signed a third and a fourth there. Meanwhile, Vettel has enough to recover the good feelings: "It is not a good start, but I do not like to label the seasons." He hopes to receive the same treatment as his teammate, "if he did not say so", and rules out leaving Ferrari discipline before the end of the season: "I have not considered it, although that question is not just for me" .

Photos from as.com
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