Lewis Hamilton has added an intriguing dimension to the debate over blown diffusers by talking about engine downforce settings – a phrase that, while perhaps familiar within the top teams, has not previously been uttered in public.
Lewis was talking about the buzz of going for pole in Monaco when he dropped into the conversation.
“Qualifying is probably the most exciting part of the weekend, apart from the start of the race,” he said. “Qualifying is very cool. Especially nowadays when they switch… Before we’d just go to the fastest engine setting, now you go for the fastest, most powerful downforce setting from the engine, which is very, very neat. You put lots of front wing in, you also have loads more grip, and you can throw the car around like crazy. I can’t wait to get into qualifying.”
Regarding Red Bull’s qualifying pace, Hamilton said: “Through the last corner of Barcelona, through Turn 3, they were flat out, in a lot of locations, particularly in qualifying. When we get to qualifying we can only generally do the corner at a similar speed as we can do it in the race. In qualifying they can do it flat out, and we can’t do that, so that’s a massive amount of time they gain.
“They were the first ones to go with the blown diffuser, just like when the Brawns were the first to do the double diffuser, they had the advantage for a long period of time. These are now the first to have done the blown diffuser, and everyone’s playing catch-up.”