Mika Hakkinen: Ferrari did better with tires

Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen commented in his traditional column on the events of the Austrian stage of the season, in which Charles Leclerc and Ferrari took a landslide victory. It’s all the more important as Charles overtook Max Verstappen on track three times, and this time the Scuderia had everything in order with tactics.

Ferrari defeated Red Bull in an open battle, which will greatly boost their confidence at this stage of the season, when half of the championship is over. The Scuderia put a lot of effort into finding a way to increase speed on the straights – it was necessary to counter the Red Bull, and besides, all weekend we saw that the Italian team worked better with rubber, and on a track that usually suits Red Bull cars.

Tire performance is a very important factor in Formula 1 and it largely depends on which wheels, front or rear, offer more grip on a particular track, as well as the right balance of the loads that fall on them. On the Red Bull Ring, rear tire wear has a greater effect on speed than the front tires and in this situation the advantage was Ferrari’s side.

Although Mac Verstappen won the sprint on Saturday, which allowed him to take pole position, Charles already felt that his car was fast enough and that he could fight for the win on Sunday. He even promised this to the team and communicated with her on the radio!

Max started confidently, but Charles managed to stay close behind him and overtake him without much effort when the opponent started having problems with the rear tires.

Ferrari strategists have made mistakes this year, which has caused problems on more than one occasion, but last Sunday everything was different. When they saw Max switch to the two pit stop tactic, they did the exact same thing, but they did their pit stops much later, so the Scuderia drivers always had a significant advantage. Equally confident actions from strategists will be needed for Ferrari in the future if Maranello gets serious about competing with Red Bull.

But the engine failure in Carlos Sainz’s car suggests Ferrari still needs to work on improving reliability, and I’m sure they know what the issues are. Charles can’t afford to retire due to equipment failure if he plans to catch up with Max. Although one retirement of Verstappen is actually enough, and the difference in the number of points scored will immediately become smaller.

I was very happy that Mick Schumacher had another great race in a Haas car and finished sixth, two positions ahead of his experienced team-mate, Kevin Magnussen. Mick is in the spotlight because of his father’s reputation and the pressure is on him. At the age of 23, however, he gives the impression of a very balanced and very mature person, and his confidence in himself and in the car clearly increases.

He made his F1 debut last year when Haas did not have a competitive car and had a lot to learn that season. But now we see that the team has made significant progress and their new car gives Mick the chance to really show what he is capable of.

Source: F1 News

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