‘Hamilton set Mercedes and Red Bull apart at Portimao’
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said Lewis Hamilton made the difference against Red Bull at the Portuguese GP.
The opening stages of the race were by far the most entertaining as Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas squabbled over the top three places.
At one stage Hamilton was down to P3, but the seven-time World Champion went on to pass both of his title rivals on-track to claim a 97th victory of his Formula 1 career.
And on a Sunday afternoon at Portimao where there was little to choose between Mercedes and Red Bull, Shovlin said it was Hamilton who proved to be that something extra which Mercedes required.
“To be honest, we are sort of splitting hairs really, I think Lewis had the fastest lap of the day on Saturday but any one of the three drivers could have been on pole,” said Shovlin after the Portuguese Grand Prix, as quoted by GPFans.
“I think, if you looked at today it was Lewis who won it. He was down in P3, he overtook on track twice and got up front and controlled the race.
“The cars, it is very difficult to pick them apart but if you are going to pick anything apart, Lewis was the best driver today and that is why he is sat on the top step.”
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As well as overtaking, Shovlin feels that tyre management is also a key strength of Hamilton’s, one which others on the grid can not match.
“Lewis is very good at overtaking, he seems to know where to position the car building up to it and also often, he doesn’t keep trying lap after lap, he sort of just sits there and takes the opportunity,” Shovlin explained when asked about Hamilton’s ability to extend the life of his tyres.
“His feel for the tyres is the key to how he manages to sit there, not overheat them and look after them but he has got the same tyres as everyone else and he damaged them by getting them hot and sliding on them.
“The key to it is keeping them cool and limiting the sliding and I think he is just better at it than the others.”
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