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    INSIGHT: French Grand Prix: Your Questions Answered Trackside Engineering Direc...

Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin answers some of your queries about the French GP...

Louie Radford sent us this question on Facebook:

-  What percentage of overall downforce did Bottas lose because of the collision with Vettel?

Andrew Shovlin: "The simple answer is about 5%. That wasn't from the contact with Vettel, it was actually when the tyre fails and punctures, it starts to fall apart and it's the tyre hitting the floor that does the damage on the way back.

"So, you are trying to drive it slow enough that you don't damage the floor too much but equally quick enough, so you can get back on the train when the Safety Car restarts.

"Now, the problem was the floor damage wasn't just bits that were knocked off but bits that were moving around.

"That's why it's a bit more complicated, because in certain corners you lose more or less performance.

"Valtteri's big issue was not just the loss of downforce but how unpredictable it was. Some corners it was OK and some laps it was OK but other times it would catch him out and he'd feel a big loss of rear grip, and that would lead to instability."

Marcel Svačina (svacina_marcel) asked us on Instagram:

-  What did the team expect from Valtteri after the Turn 1 crash?

AS: "Well, we didn't really know at the time because we didn't know how much damage had been done, so we weren't sure how fast the car was going to be.

"We fitted the Soft tyre, the instruction to him was fight through the field. Fighting through the field was more important than getting the tyre to the end at that stage.

"What we saw was actually Valtteri could close on the midfield, and they all had to make a stop. They had not stopped yet.

"So, relatively early on you'd say we are looking for a position at the back of the top six. However, it was one of those races where you have just got to see.

"You saw in the end Valtteri actually finished seventh so we didn't quite make that. But, there were points where that looked like a very realistic objective."

The Stig (@SumSayImTheStig) tweeted us enquiring:

-  Why did you choose to put Lewis on the Soft tyres instead of UltraSoft?

AS: "We didn't have good data from Friday. We had an issue with Valtteri, who was due to long run that Soft tyre.

"So, we weren't quite sure how the Soft was going to compare to the Ultra. In the early part of the race we were looking at the two Renaults. We had Sainz on the Ultra and Hulkenberg on the Soft.

"What you could see from that was while the Ultra had a really good initial phase, it would start to degrade and the Soft was the tyre that would probably give you a better stint.

"It would also mitigate the risk against Verstappen who was also on the Soft tyre and if we matched strategies with him, it was a safer thing to do.

"So, fundamentally it just came down to performance and it is not just about how many laps the tyre will go. It's about the average stint pace and which will get you to the end of the race the fastest."

Remi (remihiltunen) commented on Instagram asking:

-  What was the point in the second stop for Bottas?

AS: "There were two reasons really. One is that with the car handling he was struggling a lot, he'd flat spotted the front tyres and we were getting a bit of vibration.

"You saw what happened with Stroll where if you run that vibration too long it can actually damage the carcass of the tyre and eventually could lead to a failure.

"One part of it was that concern we had, which we were growing increasingly worried about during the race. The other issue was the rear tyres were not in great shape.

"The damage at the back of the car was causing a loss of grip. That was causing sliding and we were starting to get quite low on rear rubber.

"So, it was a bit of a mix of factors, but it was a stop that we thought we could recover position, we thought we'd be fast enough to fight through the Renault and Haas.

"As it happened, we didn't quite have the opportunity to do that. I think without the VSC at the end we might've made it happen, but it was pretty close. We lost a position with that but what we did was avoid any risk of the tyre failing."

Anni Reid (@f1reid) asked us on Twitter:

AS: "In the early part of the race the issue was we didn't really know how hard we can push the tyres, how fast that Red Bull was going to be, and we didn't know if we were going to run out of tyres at the end of the stint.

"So, Lewis set off, he was working the tyres into a nice region, only able to pull a tenth or so per lap but just building a little bit of a buffer.

"You are trying to get enough of a gap that you are outside that undercut threat. As it happened, we were able to get the tyres to last quite well, Lewis started to push a little bit harder.

"But, the key thing was we wanted to stay on track longer than they did. Because, if we box, leave them out, we then risk losing the win because there is always the VSC and Safety Car threat that would allow them to end up ahead of us.

"When we got onto that Soft tyre, the race becomes a bit easier. We are on the same rubber but it is fresher, we know it is going to the end of the race, we've seen from the first stint we can handle their pace.

"That was really just a case of keeping everything in a sensible condition on the car, making sure we don't damage the tyres, cause a flat spot and just getting it home to the finish."

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