Mercedes explains how Max Verstappen took the lead on Turn 1

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explains why Max Verstappen got the better of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Mercedes had the perfect situation at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix, with their drivers qualifying on the front row.

However, things soon went bad when Max Verstappen manage to pick up a tow from Valtteri Bottas and get into the lead by Turn 1.

Andrew Shovlin reveals the team was always worried about what would happen at the run down to the first corner, because the long straight meant that the drivers behind could slipstream them.

“It’s a very long run,” Shovlin explained.

“Of all the circuits where you can get a front-row lockout, we were worried about all the things that might go wrong at the start.

“The drivers talk about how they can choreograph themselves, but the reality is, once the lights go out, it’s very difficult to stick to your plan, because it’s never quite as you might imagine.

“It was almost unfortunate for us that Lewis got a better jump than Valtteri. None of the actual launches were bad at all, but Lewis got a good jump and that put him alongside, so he was then unable to tail off Valtteri.

“Obviously, if you’re watching from an overhead shot, it’s very easy to look at what they could have done differently to prevent Max having that opening on the left side.

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“But the reality is, we knew that Lap 1 would be one of our vulnerabilities. It wasn’t really for bad starts, it was just the way that it all shook out, they weren’t able to block him.

“I don’t think we’re as good as them braking for Turn 1, Max does a very good job of that. That was another area where we were a bit weak, we weren’t able to brake deep enough.”

Things went from bad to worse when Daniel Ricciardo tagged Bottas and the Finn spun. Shovlin explains how the pit wall had reacted at that point.

“You’re always just trying to deal with the situation in front of you, you’re not really crying about what hasn’t gone your way.

“But you know instantly that having one car there is going to be difficult, you know that the next five to 10 laps are going to give you a very clear picture of the pace.

“Once we could see that Max clearly had the legs on Lewis, and that Perez was also able to be keeping up, we shifted our focus to making sure we didn’t lose P2, rather than trying to achieve the impossible with Max.

“Because it was pretty clear that today was not a day that we had a car to win,” the Briton concluded.

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