Mercedes surprised with FP1: “6 cars are in with a shout of the front row”

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Andrew Shovlin says Mercedes “weren’t expecting to be as competitive as Mexico”, but after Brazilian Grand Prix FP1, it seems “6 cars are in with a shout of the front row”.

Ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, Mercedes was very adamant that they don’t expect their car to be as competitive as it was at the Mexican Grand Prix.

However, after the first free practice session, both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished around two tenths adrift of P1.

Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin says the team was surprised by the W13’s performance.

“We weren’t expecting to be as competitive as Mexico, but looking at FP1 it seems like 6 cars are in with a shout of the front row so it looks tight,” the Briton told Sky Sports.

“Normally you have three hours to sort out the car before it matters and you’re trying to get all the work squashed into an hour.

“What we’ve seen with our car on max downforce, we seem to get on well. Budapest, Zandvoort, Singapore it’s worked quite well.”

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Shovlin then revealed rain could be on the horizon ahead of qualifying.

“It looks like it could be interesting. There is a little bit of rain around here and it is bubbling up, it is not like you can see it as a front. It could be an interesting wet qualifying.”

The Briton also explained why Lewis was complaining about his car’s rear “floating”, before he set his best time of FP1.

“Lewis was trying quite a low wing level to start, then he went lower and then he went up a bit. It is another of those things, trying to pin down where you want to be is quite difficult.

“The tyres are getting hot, there is quite a lot of overheating and that is causing a loss of rear grip,” Shovlin concluded.

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