At the Mexican Grand Prix, Mercedes had to admit defeat once again: Max Verstappen passed both Silver Arrows right at the start and dominated the Formula 1 race to the finish line. Lewis Hamilton was missing a full 16 seconds at the end. With second place he lost further points in the World Cup.
“If they take their superior speed with them into the next races, we’ll be in trouble,” said the seven-time Formula 1 world champion after the clear defeat. 19 points separate him and Verstappen with four races left.
At the moment hardly anyone dares to predict who could have an advantage on which routes. “The fluctuations are still great,” knows Mercedes engineer Andrew Shovlin.
“There will be tracks that will suit us – we had very strong races in Turkey and Sochi and many strong races since the summer break.”
Why Red Bull had an advantage recently
“So there will be ups and downs. We definitely have a lot of work ahead of us. I think that the bottom line is that they are a bit ahead of us,” he analyzes the balance of power with Red Bull. “But the weather and track temperatures will play a role The most important thing will be the characteristics of the track and it seems that we can cope a little better on a track with understeer. “
“The last two races were mainly about the overheating of the rear tires, and from what we’ve seen over the past two weeks it’s very clear that they have an advantage in this situation,” the engineer continues.
What does that mean with a view to the upcoming race, the Brazilian Grand Prix? “That depends a little on the weather,” says Shovlin, “because the weather there is inherently very changeable. One day the track can be 50 degrees, and the next day there can be a complete crash.”
Shovlin expects a close fight
“I think if it’s a hot stretch then it will probably move in their direction. A bit of cloud cover could come towards us, but one of the advantages they had here (in Mexico; d. R.) was that they were able to generate more maximum downforce than we did. That was their advantage. “
“It shouldn’t be a problem in Brazil, but it’s very difficult to predict,” said Shovlin. “We’re going to look at the weaknesses of our car just like we did here and find out how we can minimize them. We have to get the tires in a window, but predicting whether you will be fast or slow is pretty meaningless.”
But there are certainly reasons to assume that things will get closer: “We don’t have to go back too far, we clearly had the most dominant car in Turkey over the entire weekend. That was also the case in Sochi, and it will be for the remaining four stations Give routes that suit us. “