Mercedes can’t help Nyck de Vries to F1 – Toto Wolff

Mercedes cannot do much to help Nyck de Vries secure a Formula One drive and may let him go, team boss Toto Wolff said after the Dutch reserve replaced Lewis Hamilton in first Friday practice at the French Grand Prix.

De Vries, 27, is the reigning Formula E champion with Mercedes and also won the Formula Two crown in 2019.

Despite his success, and Mercedes supplying engines to four of the 10 teams, he has been unable to secure a race seat in Formula One.

Mercedes are also pulling out of Formula E at the end of this season, with the team sold to McLaren who have their own roster of drivers.

Last year’s F2 champion Oscar Piastri is meanwhile the hot favourite to become Formula One’s newest rookie with several teams interested in the Alpine reserve.

“If we are not able to provide him [De Vries] with an interesting Formula One project, in a way we need to let him go,” Wolff told Sky Sports television at Le Castellet.”He’s looking at various options, sportscars and maybe Formula E but you must never give up on the opportunity that one day a Formula One door can open and today was very good. I can’t really help him,” added Wolff.

“We can’t really tell any team to look at him and consider him because that would be felt like an interference and that goes the contrary way.”

De Vries set the ninth best time in the session before handing back the car to seven-times world champion Hamilton for second practice.

It was his second such outing after one with Mercedes-powered Williams in Spain in May.

Charles Leclerc’s unforced error leaves F1 title bid in tatters after French Grand Prix

LE CASTELLET, France — The devastation was audible in Charles Leclerc’s voice as he screamed over team radio. His car was nose into the barriers at Turn 11; his championship chances were in pieces.

What made it so difficult to bear was that this moment was on him. On a weekend when his Ferrari looked like a match for Red Bull and was looking on course for victory, he made an unforced error.”It was just a mistake,” he said. “I tried to take too much around the outside and probably put a wheel somewhere dirty. It’s my fault, and if I keep doing mistakes like this, then I deserve to not win the championship.

“The level is very high this year, I’ve been performing at a high level, but if I keep doing these mistakes, then it’s pointless to be at a high level.”

It’s hard to argue with Leclerc’s assessment. The mistake means Leclerc is now 63 points adrift of Max Verstappen in the championship with 10 races remaining.

Had he not made the mistake and gone on to win the race, he would have cut the gap to the reigning champion to 31 points and successfully deprived Verstappen of a victory for the third consecutive race in a row. The accident felt like a pivotal moment in Leclerc’s title campaign.

Would Leclerc have won without the mistake?

The opening laps of the French Grand Prix were tense as Verstappen’s Red Bull stalked the rear of Leclerc’s Ferrari. Initially it seemed like a matter of time before Verstappen made use of his Red Bull’s superior straight-line speed and steamed past Leclerc with the help of his car’s Drag Reduction System (DRS), but the Ferrari driver was fast in all the right places to hold off the reigning world champion.

The battle was made all the more exciting by the setup decisions of the two teams earlier in the weekend. Ferrari had opted for a high downforce setup, resulting in high cornering speeds but a deficit on the straights, while Red Bull had prioritised straight-line speed over cornering performance with a low-drag setup.

In theory, Verstappen should be able to breeze past the Ferrari on the Mistral Straight, but Leclerc’s speed through Turns 5 and 6 beforehand meant the Red Bull was never quite close enough to get the job done. After several failed attempts, Red Bull looked to take the lead through the pit stops and called Verstappen in for fresh tyres on lap 16 — much earlier than anyone had predicted for a one-stop strategy.

Given the pace of the front-running cars, it appeared as though Verstappen was committing to a two-stop strategy, but the team insists it was only ever considering a one-stop. The plan was for Verstappen to use the pace advantage from his new tyres after the pit stop to make up enough time on Leclerc to then take the lead when Leclerc made his own pit stop several laps later.

Had the plan worked, it would have given Verstappen the lead of the race but come at the cost of a tyre disadvantage, as Leclerc would have emerged from the pits on tyres several laps fresher than the Red Bull’s — an advantage he would have taken to the end of the race and tried to exploit with an on-track pass for victory.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner acknowledged it was an aggressive strategy but was optimistic Verstappen would have been able to hold on for the win.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner acknowledged it was an aggressive strategy but was optimistic Verstappen would have been able to hold on for the win.

“The race was going OK and we were in his DRS, but we couldn’t get close enough in Turn 6 ahead of the straight to really capitalise on the DRS. So that’s why we banked the track position, and I think we would have been able to defend reasonably comfortably with the speed we had in sector two.

“It was very close between the two teams even though we had a very different approach to achieving the lap time.”

If anything, once Verstappen pitted, Leclerc should have been able to take it easier with the Red Bull off his tail. According to engineers at rival teams, the optimum lap to pit on for a one-stop would have been around lap 22 or 23, so pitting as early as Red Bull did would have run the risk of running out of tyre performance by the end of the race.

For Leclerc, it was about playing the long game and banking a tyre advantage for the end of the race rather than trying to keep Verstappen behind after the pit stops. Which is why it was so surprising when he spun on lap 18.

Once Leclerc had spun out of contention, Verstappen was able to ease off knowing that Lewis Hamilton’s much-slower Mercedes was never really going to be a threat for the victory. As a result, we’ll never know how much his tyres would have suffered by the end of the race had he been put under real pressure by Leclerc.

“It’s a shame that it didn’t play out because the second half of the race would have been the opposite to the first,” Horner said. “We would have had track position, but Charles would have had tyre advantage.”

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto felt Leclerc held the stronger strategic hand before the spin.

“Charles got the pole, he was leading the race and I think we had an edge on the Red Bull in terms of tyre degradation by lap 15, because Max had to stop,” Binotto said. “We could have extended the stint and we were extending the stint, looking at the time where Max stopped when he was starting to suffer from tyre degradations, Charles was gaining two- or three-tenths per lap on him, proving once again that our car is great gentle with tyre management.”

What will hurt most for Leclerc is the knowledge that his Ferrari is capable of challenging for the title this year. Championship-worthy cars are hard to come by in F1, and the majority of drivers will go their whole career without ever getting a shot at the title. Such opportunities need to be taken, but Leclerc can feel this one slipping through his fingers after just 12 of 22 races.

pernando 2945

pernando 2945

Stay ahead of the competition. Explore the latest trends with Think with Google today. visit :

View all posts by pernando 2945 →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *