Lewis Hamilton was unable to beat Max Verstappen, who was on an aggressive two-stop strategy, at the US Grand Prix.
The Dutch driver performed two undercuts on Hamilton, and although the Briton got extremely close in the final laps of the race, he was unable to mount an attack.
After the race Andrew Shovlin was asked what Mercedes could have done differently to allow Lewis to take the win.
“Had a crystal ball perhaps, and realised the hard tyre would have been a better tyre for us,” said Shovlin tongue-in-cheek.
“Realistically, the options to win the race probably boiled down to retaining the lead after the very good start that Lewis had made by stopping early.
“That would have, maybe been going as early as lap eight, but being as we were struggling on the mediums in such a short stint, we would never have been brave enough to do that just to hold the lead. It felt like we would have compromised the whole race.
“But as it happens, we could have gone for an early stop, we could have got to the finish, but it would have just been the case of pull the trigger early, hope for the best and seeing if Lewis could hold Max at bay. That is the main opportunity.”
Shovlin goes on to explain he is not sure that Lewis could have gone for an undercut like Verstappen did.
“It changes your mindset when you are in P2, as realistically the worst you can finish is P2 given the races will be won by Lewis and Max without other issues a lot of the time.
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“But the big question is, could we have kept up? And I am certain we couldn’t have sat on their gearbox in the way that they did to us. Whether we could have even kept to within an undercut range is another matter.
“It comes down to that weak performance that we had on the medium tyre. And if we weren’t in undercut range, then Max would have just gone long and broken the race up into nice manageable chunks.
“As it happened, the best thing we could do when they undercut us was to try to create a bit of a tyre offset. But ultimately the race wasn’t quite long enough to have that pay dividends.”
The Briton also dismisses any suggestions that Lewis could have tried to drive a one-stop race.
“We saw that in the final stint a lot of the field started managing more, and they got the degradation under control. But when people were pushing hard, the tyres were falling off at an incredible rate. So one stop would have been out of the [question].
“The medium wasn’t good enough. We could have done it with two hards, but you can’t race that. For us, we were struggling too much on the medium and a three-stop you couldn’t make the pitstop gap back.
“So it was a nailed on two-stop which is what we expected coming here,” Shovlin concluded