Formula One world champions Mercedes say they are now the underdogs to Ferrari in this year’s title race but Nigel Mansell is taking that with a pinch of salt.
The 1992 world champion, loved by the Ferrari fans as ‘Il Leone’ (The Lion) during his earlier time at Maranello, told Reuters he was
“sceptical of the claim”
“That’s rhetoric. I don’t believe they’re underdogs,”
Mansell declared prior to his entry the Motor Sport Magazine Hall of Fame at a gala dinner on Wednesday.
“I think they are very close.”
Earlier this week in a race preview, Toto Wolff told us his feelings:
“It’s painful, but we are not the favourites for this year’s championship. At the moment it’s Ferrari,”
Mansell told Reuters that Ferrari had done:
“an absolutely outstanding job through the winter to come out and challenge Mercedes like they have” and was delighted for his old team.
“But now it’s going to be a race on development, whatever manufacturer develops at a faster rate will ultimately win the world championship,”
I am with Mansell. The facts are simple, champions Mercedes have won 54 of 65 races since the introduction of the 1.6 litre V6 turbo hybrid power units in 2014, admittedly only three from six this season but underdogs are competitors thought to have little chance of winning a contest.
Underdogs do not achieve 60 poles of the last 65 races. Ferrari only ended a 21-race podium streak by Mercedes at Monaco (the fourth longest such run in the sport’s history).
My Feeling is that Wolff is simply trying to take the pressure of non podium finishes off Mercedes and suggesting that the pressure on Ferrari not to loose instead of Mercedes to win.
Hamilton has won it five times (in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016) and this year’s race is also the 10th anniversary of his first.
The rain-hit Canadian Grand Prix of 2011 was Formula One’s longest race, lasting four hours, four minutes and 39.537 seconds. The safety car was deployed six times, another record. Even on a good day the circuit is regarded by the FIA as “LOW GRIP”
To counteract the lack of grip, tyre supplier Pirelli is this weekend bringing in its range, the Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft. The combination was last used in Monaco and has also been used in Russia… and Mercedes know that the current chassis does not play well with these, especially on the rear of Hamilton’s car so he will be well stocked up, however it has also been suggested by a long term commenter to the site that if the weather stays the same as it is now, they might as well bring snow tyres.