F1 2018: Mercedes and Ferrari car strengths compared in title battle

Mercedes and Ferrari’s title-challenging cars have different strengths and weaknesses but are ultimately separated by “small margins” over a lap, says James Allison.

F1 has gone into its summer break with the sport’s two biggest names separated by just 10 points in the Constructors’ Championship after 12 rounds, with Lewis Hamilton 24 clear of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ battle.

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In a fascinating comparison of the two rivals’ respective cars following the Hungarian GP, Mercedes technical chief Allison explains that while the development race has shifted the form book consistently since the start of 2018 some car traits are “relatively constant”.

“Certainly for a few races now we have been missing just a few horsepower to a Ferrari that has had a very, very impressive rate of development through the year,” said Allison in a Mercedes YouTube video.

“We are probably on average better than Ferrari through the corners at most tracks, sometimes they take a bit from us in the low-speed, but medium and high-speed we normally prosper relative to them.

“I would say they have tended to be a bit stronger than us when it’s at tracks that are strongly rear limited, but we are talking small margins, and us the opposite.

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“We have tended to have better pit stops they have tended to have better starts although we appear to have put that right in recent races with a lot of work from the good guys in the controls department here in the factory.

“These are all small, small margins which is why the championship has yo-yoed one way and the other.”

Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have once again shared the race victories between them so far this year – but Allison says the destination of the wins from one event to another has rarely gone to predictions so far.

“It’s quite interesting to note that in the 12 races we have had so far, only five of them have actually been won by the car that most people would agree was the quickest on that weekend,” he added.

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