Mercedes took 13 out of 17 victories in 2020, in one in every of their most dominant seasons to this point. However in accordance with Chief Technical Director James Allison, the crew’s sudden win over Pink Bull on the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix season opener will go down as one of many sweetest of the fashionable crew’s 107 F1 victories.
With Mercedes having been on the again foot heading into the 2021 season after a disastrous – by their lofty requirements – pre-season take a look at, issues didn’t enhance when Pink Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed pole place for the Bahrain Grand Prix by a full 0.388s from Lewis Hamilton.
However aggressive technique and a few good driving by Hamilton ensured the crew held on to take victory by simply 0.745s from Verstappen – with Allison describing the unimaginable response on the Mercedes pit wall.
“It was some of the thrilling, nail-biting, chest-bursting experiences that I’ve ever had at a racetrack,” mentioned Allison. “All of us have been holding our breath, crossing our fingers, crossing our toes and simply hoping with the whole lot we had that Lewis would be capable to dangle on until the tip.
Free preview: Jolyon Palmer analyses the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix
“That he did so in such model, that he did so with such inch-perfect positioning of his automotive at Flip 4 when Max had that one go at him, that he did so with that diploma of sophistication, simply added to the fun of all of it. And when he lastly crossed the road, there was an outbreak of mass hysteria in our storage, with the utter, utter delight of it.
“Final yr, we managed to win numerous races with a really robust set of performances,” Allison added, “however there will likely be only a few races as memorable because the one we loved… in Bahrain.”
It wasn’t all excellent for Mercedes in Bahrain, although, with a nightmare 10.9s pit cease for Valtteri Bottas dropping the Finn out of rivalry with the main pair of Hamilton and Verstappen, and leaving him to come back house a pissed off third. And Allison – talking on Mercedes’ personal YouTube channel – defined what had gone flawed at Bottas’ cease.
“Valtteri got here in very neatly, positioned the automotive neatly and properly, which is at all times a assist for the pit crew,” mentioned Allison. “However sadly one of many gunmen went onto the wheel, began to disengage the nut, loosened the nut, however then began to withdraw the wheel gun just a bit bit too quickly, earlier than the nut had spun off its thread.”
With an additional delay then coming from the wheel gun robotically reversing its rotation path pondering that the nut had been eliminated efficiently, in accordance with Allison, “the next follow-on mess of that’s what causes one thing which is generally a fantastic, two-second pit cease… to then collapse into one thing that haemorrhages lap time and seconds within the pit lane.
“However all of it was brought on by that preliminary misplacing of the wheel gun machining the nut because the wheel gun got here off.”