‘A Classic Own Goal’ – Allison Reveals Mercedes’ Costly Mistake During the 2020 F1 Season

Published 01/04/2021, 3:53 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during practice Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili


Defending champions Mercedes were exceptional in the 2020 Formula 1 season. The cars’ sheer power, coupled with their right strategic choices, saw them close out 1-2 finishes in many races.

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While they dominated most race weekends, there were a few races where their strategy didn’t work out. The 70th Anniversary GP was one such race.

Explaining why, Mercedes technical chief James Allison opened up about their problems with blistering tires in the race.

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Allison stated, “We’ve had problems with the rear tires being too hot over the years. That made for many bad weekends. Silverstone is a track where that can easily happen.” (translated via Google Translate)

Mercedes did not do a good job in the second Silverstone race, says Allison

“We put a lot of work into getting the tires balanced on both axles in their working window and keeping the jacket temperatures under control, especially on stretches where the tires could blister. We can manage that much better today.”

Earlier, at the same venue, Lewis Hamilton burst his left front tire during the British GP. However, in that case, he had a fortunate time gap in front of Max Verstappen to bring the car home and seal the victory.

Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and George Russell in action during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

The Mercedes technical director continued, “We just didn’t do a good job in the second Silverstone race. In the first race we somehow got through and then in the second race we didn’t pay enough attention to the problems from the first.

“We didn’t take due care when entering a race the tires were too soft for and we didn’t set the car up accordingly. We started with the same setup as we did the first week of Silverstone and we were hoping for a miracle. That was a classic own goal,” concluded Allison.

Tires blistering cost Hamilton and Bottas the opportunity to win that race

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Starting off on the Mediums and in 1-2 grid positions, both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas fancied the win. Instead, the excessive blistering on their tires cost them time in the pits and Verstappen played out the long game.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during practice Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili

Eventually, the Red Bull superstar won, and both Mercedes cars finished P2 and P3, respectively. However, there was a sense of genuine disappointment of not being able to win.

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Regardless, it was a huge learning lesson for the defending champions, and they will remember that in the races going ahead.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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