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Mercedes: “We still don’t think we’ve got the best car”

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Mercedes haven’t quite had the dominating start to the 2021 season as they would have hoped, with the win at Bahrain proving extremely hard work for Lewis Hamilton. His team mate Valtteri Bottas didn’t quite have the pace, and the Red Bull was a force to be reckoned with. 

The reigning champions fear that they will still struggle against Red Bull in the upcoming races at Imola and Portimao, despite having a win already under their belt.

“I don’t think we’re good enough in the high-speed, and there’s plenty of that in Imola and in Portimao, and that’s one area where they’ve got an advantage on us at the moment,” said Andrew Shovlin, trackside engineering director at Mercedes. “Bahrain’s quite an outlier circuit – it’s very hard on the rear tyres, and it’s been really windy here. We’ve had 30/40 km/h wind, which is pretty much the upper end of what you’d see in a normal race season,”

“We’re certainly hoping that this is not one of our finest tracks because we’ve really had quite a tough time, and I think we’ve got the car in a decent window by the end. But it’s been awfully hard work,” he continued. “If you look at Red Bull through the test, through free practice, their car just works really well. They’ve not looked weak at any point. Hopefully, we’ll find circuits that do suit us more than this.”

Image Credit: LAT Images/Mercedes AMG F1 Team

Despite Red Bull dominating the testing sessions, practice and qualifying, Mercedes had the upper hand on race day, taking a more aggressive strategy with Lewis Hamilton, who worked hard to manage his tyres to hold off the challenge from Max Verstappen. It was not an easy win, and even though they have more performance to get out of the W12, they understand that for the next few races at least, Red Bull have the faster car.

“What’s our mindset? We still don’t think we’ve got the best car, but we don’t think we’ve got everything out of the package yet,” explained Shovlin.  “When you develop a car, there’s lots of areas that you look to exploit for performance and some of them we don’t think have delivered everything that they should. So we’re going to be working pretty hard to bring performance to the car in the next couple of races. But I think it’s going to be tough,”

“With those circuits, there’s elements that I think will move us in the right direction ,” he explained. “We have struggled with the rear end here in Bahrain and those circuits are a bit easier in that regard. But high-speed is something we wouldn’t be naive in thinking that’s going to be strength of ours at those tracks.”


Andrew Shovlin quote:

Header Image: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team/Jiri Krenek





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