Why didn’t Mercedes fight Lewis Hamilton’s Qualifying DQ?

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Andrew Shovlin explains how “hundreds of thousands” of simulations influenced Mercedes’ decision not to fight Lewis Hamilton’s Brazilian Grand Prix disqualification.

Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from the Brazilian Grand Prix Qualifying, due to a DRS related infringement, and he was required to start the Sprint Race from the back of the grid.

Although Mercedes insisted that the disqualification was harsh, because the infringement was due to the damage done to the rear wing, they decided not to appeal.

Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explains one of the reasons why the team did not lodge an appeal.

“We do a lot of simulations,” Shovlin said.

“A million or so… It is in the hundreds of thousands or more. We weren’t particularly happy with the ruling on the rear wing but we did have a question of, ‘Do we fight this? Do we decide we’re going to try and appeal it? Are we going to race under appeal?’

“But it was pretty evident from the runs that we had seen on Friday, from where we had been able to qualify, that we actually had a good car and we had a lot of opportunities to recover that.

“It was a relatively short conversation, not that we had long to make that conversation, but a relatively short conversation where we just decided to get on with it and try and take the penalty and see what we could do to minimise the impact of it.”

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When Lewis managed to get from P20 to P5 in the Sprint Race, it was obvious to Mercedes that they have a good chance of winning the main race.

“Probably the thing that really set our hopes of having a minimum of a podium and a possible win was just the performance in the Sprint Race because, in that, we saw Lewis could attack practically anyone out there,” continued Shovlin.

“We saw that we had a good pace advantage but, as I said, importantly we could sit behind a car, we do a good Turn 12, we had good traction, and those are the ingredients you need to overtake here.

“The only unknown was, would that strong pace in the Sprint race in cool conditions around a 30-degree track on Saturday carry into a 50-degree track on Sunday?

“We were hopeful, but you don’t know whether that is going to be the case, so it was encouraging when we saw that we were strong come race day,” concluded the Briton.

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