Mercedes reveals why they were so dominant in US Grand Prix FP1

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explains why Mercedes was so dominant in United States Grand Prix FP1, while Red Bull had the edge for the rest of the weekend.

Mercedes finished the US Grand Prix first free practice on top of the timesheets, but later started to lose out to Red Bull in terms of pace. Andrew Shovlin explains what happened.

“We did look good [in FP1] and, if we’re being honest, we thought that we were looking in very good shape,” the Briton said.

“However, we knew that we were running the PU quite turned up at that point. So that was flattering us, and also we could see that Max [Verstappen] didn’t really get a lap in properly, he had a lot of issues with traffic and things.

“So we were probably overly… optimistic is the wrong word, but we thought we’d started the weekend well.

“What we saw in FP2, though, was a more clear picture of where our pace actually was. It wasn’t really that we were making bad decisions on setup but, as it got hotter and as it got a bit windier, we were struggling more.

“That FP2 picture, I think, was the one that we really saw through Saturday and Sunday and was the real indication.”

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Shovlin then described the disappointment the team felt after they narrowly lost out to Red Bull.

“There’s a sense of disappointment, because we didn’t want to come here and concede points in both championships. And it’s difficult for us to be happy with anything other than the races where we extend those leads.

“But the frustration normally comes when you think we didn’t do a good enough job, and that’s the thing that we need to look at in detail now.

“What could we have done better to adapt the car, other options that we could have taken advantage of on the strategy?

“And in particular, why were we so weak on that Medium? Because Max was sat right behind us the first stint and that gave us the impression that we were significantly off the pace.

“But then, when we got on to the Hard tyres, the car was working much better and Lewis was able to push, and we had a car that could race them.

“So there’s a fair bit that we need to understand,” concluded Shovlin.

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