2019 United States Grand Prix F1 Debrief

2019 United States Grand Prix F1 Debrief

Hi, I’m James Vowles,
I’m the Motorsport Strategy Director
for the team and I’m here to answer
your questions about
the United States Grand Prix.
Bumps were talked about
by many of the drivers across the
race weekend because they featured
more than ever this year. On the
pit exit on the left-hand side on
the run up to Turn 1, and towards
the back straight and on the back
straight itself, there were some quite
significant bumps and these weren’t
the type of bumps where you can
just adjust your ride height by
one millimetre to deal with it.
These really require the drivers to
take different lines to adjust.
The good news is that COTA are
on the case and in fact for next year,
they are resurfacing a huge amount
of the circuit, over two kilometres of
it will have new tarmac down. The
reality is, since 2012, the first year
we went there, there has been 1.5
metres of subsidence of the track.
That’s enormous. The great news is
they are aware, they are dealing with
it and I am confident next year when
we go back these won’t be a problem at all.
Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2,
both Valtteri and Lewis were trading
times and both towards the sharp end
of the grid. But come Qualifying 3
Lewis dropped back to fifth, so
what happened? During the
course of the lap, underneath
his right hand, there’s a little
rotary and that rotary adjusts
the engine braking. Normally it
has a guard on it, and what
happened is the guard had
accidentally been knocked off,
and as he went through the lap
and every time he turned the
steering wheel, he accidentally
changed the engine braking and
that caused him to lose performance
towards the end of the lap. The
mechanics spotted it immediately
the second the car had come back
in but obviously that first run was
compromised as the result. Come
the second run you would’ve seen
everyone went slower, the track in
fact had slowed down slightly, small
wind change, small track temperature
change and Lewis wasn’t now able to
compete at the front, ultimately
sealing his place as fifth on the grid.
Going into the race, our
data from Friday showed
it was very, very close between
a one-stop race and a two-stop
race. On this graph, you can see
this was what our expectation was.
The one-stop would win out
against a two-stop runner and
have a few seconds favour end of race.
But it was close. On the first stint of
the race the strategists were calculating
what the tyre degradation was and
noticed it had transitioned more
towards a two-stop. And this graph
here that you can see is a
representation of that. This is
now using the data that we
had gathered during that first
stint and the two-stop now features.
In fact, more so, it overtakes the
one-stopper end of race.
Valtteri had done a brilliant job
on that first stint and pulled just
a little bit of a gap relative to
Verstappen, enough that we could
wait one lap to when Verstappen stopped.
We could see that his tyres were
dropping and indeed they came in
for their stop, and Valtteri covered
on that two-stop strategy the very next
lap, us now knowing that that two-stop
was competitive. With Lewis, that one-stop
still allowed you to gain track position,
but you had to try and hold onto it at
the end of the race. And that’s why
we opted for the one with Lewis
and the two-stop with Valtteri.
Once we committed to that one-stop
strategy with Lewis, we are not
finished. We are continuously
reviewing the tyre curves to try and
understand what it’s going to look like
end of race. Will those Hard tyres hold
on or should we be converting back
to a two-stop strategy? And it wouldn’t
have been a terrible two-stop strategy,
in fact he would’ve had a very, very big
tyre age difference to Verstappen and
enough that maybe he could overtake
on track. And that’s what the strategists
are continuously doing behind the scenes.
We are reviewing how the tyres are
performing against model, whether or
not we need to adjust our data to understand
what to do, how fast Lewis has to be driving
and what he has to really do to accomplish
that one-stop strategy. We reviewed changing
to a two several times and if we had, we
would’ve fitted the Medium tyre,
it would’ve been the best tyre not for
the start of stint but for when he would’ve
caught back up to the back of Verstappen
to overtake him. We went through the
maths, and ultimately decided to stay on
that one-stop strategy. We knew it would
be extremely tight for those tyres to make
the end of the race, but he had track
position and it would allow him his best
chance of holding onto that podium.
The yellow flags at the end of the
race definitely helped Lewis. It was
into the major overtaking point on track
which is Turn 12 but it isn’t the only
overtaking point, you can also be passed
into Turn 1 and Lewis was holding on for
dear life and did his absolute best.
No one could say truly whether or not
we would’ve been overtaken if those
yellows weren’t there, but the reality
behind it is it definitely helped us.
Thank you very much for all of your
questions and we look forward to
answering more after the Brazilian Grand Prix.

100 Replies to “2019 United States Grand Prix F1 Debrief”

  1. Its more like james let valteri win this race, lewis championship could concluded by a second title.
    Again there goes valteri degraded even though he won the race 😐

  2. … but now it`s the right James? 😀 – Congratulations and thank you for all the Debriefs you did this season so far.

  3. What a team, What a car and Lewis & Valtteri a pair who work well and push each other. Still he Rises and still Mercedes AMG Petronas Rise with Him, their 6 x World Drivers Champion as are the team 6 x Constructors Champions can they do 7 doubles next.

  4. I am surprised you focused only on the technical and didnt answered questions about driver s Championship. But It is fine to me.

  5. I'm gonna cry inside when they say: "Thank you for all of you're questions, we look forward to answer more in 2020 after the Australian Grand Prix

  6. Such pure masterclass pulling off that one stop strategy and mechanic spotting Lewis faulty car as soon as he came back from qualifiers. This is what that make mercedes the best. Looking for more interesting races and strategies.

  7. Great job by Lewis and Valtteri and also the team as a whole! Congratulations to each and everyone that work hard relentlessly, on track and back at the factory! Keep pushing! ❤️👊🏻

  8. Another great analysing from the original James. And great drive by champion Lewis with inferior tyres to beat mad max. Congratulations team Mercedes f1.

  9. It might be German money, but team based in England, car and engine/power unit manufactured in England, as is the brilliant Lewis.

  10. Someone please tell me, because apparently they have a few "James" in the paddock, is this the "Valtteri, it's James, you suck and Lewis is better so let him through" guy?

  11. It's very interesting to hear these facts from latest GP from Mercedes Team. Congrats to Lewis and to the whole team from a Ferrari fan 😁

  12. It's James! Well done to the team, awesome drive by Valtteri and another amazing performance by Lewis. I was at Turn 1 and nearly bit my knuckles off at lap 1! And the last few laps, I was too nervous to look!

    Great race by all. Here's to our 6 time world champion, and more to come!

  13. Man I still remember when I started supporting this team (when I became Mercedes fan) in 2011 when I was 10 and when Nico won in China I was screaming: "Nico! Nico! Nico!" 😂😂

  14. Congratulations Guys. A whole season of hard work and you got your just rewards. Said it before but I love these Pit Wall videos they are so fan friendly. Enjoy your moments of glory before you start the process all over again!

  15. I look forward to this and James.
    Congrats and Thank You Mercedes for the inspiration. Wish you well for next year. All the best from DBest 😁

  16. I thought Lewis qualified in 5th because he didn't want verstappen to crash into him on the first corner on the first lap. It would have ruined his race seeing that he only needed to finish 8th or higher

  17. does ferrari do all these calculations? seems like they don't.. sit back and relax its a La Ferrari still going on?

    those excuses 😀 😀 he always needs one when he falls short 😀

  19. You should've gone with another pit stop for Lewis before the last 10 laps, with 3 to 4 seconds speed difference per lap it would take him only few laps to catch Max and Valtteri, anyway congratulations for you and Lewis for the championship and Valtteri for the win

  20. Thanks for another insightful debrief. So sad there's only 2 left this year. Its past so quick. Keep pushing for these last 2 GPs and get another couple of 1-2 wins under the belt. Best team ever to grace the stage of F1. Best of luck for 2020 & beyond.

  21. Well Done to the whole Factory and the Drivers this weekend – A contstructors and 1-2 Drivers championship finish is brilliant and fantastic! great job

  22. Excellent debriefing analysis! In particular the explanation on the car setup when the car commutes over the bump in turn 9

  23. Great to hear how the cogs work in the background to do the team analysis for the drivers. Great team effort. Enjoy these debriefs so so much.👍

  24. The most fan friendly team, the most cerebral team, great chemistry between drivers, best car of the hybrid era and one of the all time great drivers. Historic times.

  25. Das alles hörte sich vor allen gerade ganz genau wie die Wahrheit an – und so überzeugend detailliert vorgetragen, man glaubte es kaum. Und trägt vielleicht einen kleinen Beweis in sich, dafür dass bezüglich der Informationslage der Teams untereinander längst eine relativ große Transparenz bezüglich der bezüglich Boxenstopp/Reifenwahl eingesetzten Prognoseinstrumente und der daraus abzuleitenden Team-Möglichkeiten in der Realität herrscht. Und dann schlägt, auch unter Marketinggesichtspunkten, richtigerweise derjenige am meisten Kapital daraus, der frühzeitig an die Öffentlichkeit geht. Interessante Sache das. Danke Mercedes!

  26. One would think, there would less people in the background or some celebratory decor but no still hard at work despite securing the double championship. A sign of a real winner.

  27. Veltri: Its James, you are cleared to attack the leader now!

    James rest assured that Veltri will be on an attacking mode from the first turn in the first race next year!!!

  28. Thank you for taking the time to answer these excellent questions. We, the fans, really enjoy hearing your thoughts. I know it takes time, and it may be difficult at times, but we appreciate it.

  29. So many races even Manufacturers Championships seem to be won on strategy. Ferrari may have had the better car and maybe the better driver in Le Clerc too but what seems to be the difference is the strategy software that you guys can call on and rely on. Well done. Don't forget to translate all your knowledge to the Mums N Dad's cars in our garages.

  30. Quiero que Fernando Alonso este en mercedes porque es muy bueno y es mejor que vestappen así que (Alonso – Alonso el mejor)

  31. You state on the video that everyone went slower on their second Q3 run. This is simply not true. Several drivers improved, although minimally, but the leading pack wasn't nearly as close after the first runs as it was at the end of Q3, for instance. You could've just argued that Lewis wasn't that far off at the end of the day. Ultimately, he hasn't even been the best qualifier this season, so it's not greatly surprising.

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