Shovlin says Hamilton has been exploring a “wacky” set-up direction

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After losing out to Red Bull at the Styrian Grand Prix Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin says the team needs to be “brave and original with set-up direction”.

Shovlin admits Mercedes expected to be slower than Red Bull in Austria, but they still did a lot of work beforehand to limit the damage.

“It is a difficult and quite peculiar circuit and Red Bull are normally strong here but we were also exploring a fairly wacky direction with the set-up, a sort of radical approach which I think was maybe a bit better on the single lap,” the Briton said.

“The question that remains is whether we’ve hurt our degradation and we need to look at that in the next day or two.”

Mercedes’ chief engineer was asked if he could give more details about said “wacky” direction.

“I don’t really want to go into details. But essentially the window that we work in was much, much wider. We were going further than we have ever gone and [were] just understanding the effects of that.

“Lewis, before he came here, was doing a lot of work in the driver-in-the-loop simulator and it looked like an interesting direction.

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“But an important part of this year for us is adapting well to every track and we do need to be a bit brave and original with set-up direction to do that.”

Shovlin then talked about the next race that will also be held at the Red Bull Ring. However, for the Austrian Grand Prix Pirelli will be offering softer tyre compounds.

“Fundamentally the car is very similar. But there are additional challenges of extracting the grip out of that C5 compound, the very softest rubber, on a single lap.

“That might be quite challenging if it is very hot here and the other thing is we’re not looking for massive margins.

“We were down by a couple of tenths in the race and there was a bit of degradation but the solution to both of those problems might be the same thing.

“We’ll just try and get the rears running a bit cooler and look after the rubber a bit better and you may find that both of those things come our way,” concluded the Briton.

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