Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Technical Director James Allison says the team went into the weekend unsure of how the car would perform on the Supersoft compound tyres, though admits the team was happy with the performance they saw despite only qualifying on the second row of the grid.
Mercedes were denied the front row in Qualifying by Allison’s former employers, Scuderia Ferrari, who have had the upper hand all weekend, with both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton comprehensively outpaced in Free Practice 3, with the Ferraris having stormed to first and second.
This left Mercedes on the back foot heading into Qualifying and, although they were able to reduce the gap, Allison says the changes just weren’t enough to match Ferrari, with Bottas third on the grid and Hamilton fourth.
“We made some good steps forward with the car after third practice but they were not sufficient to beat a fast pair of Ferraris today,” said Allison.
He was able to take one positive from the session though, saying that the team is able to perform consistently on the Supersoft tyres – something that had been a concern coming into the weekend.
“We can be happy that we are now extracting consistent performance from the Supersoft compound, which was a concern for us earlier in the weekend, but now all our focus shifts to the Grand Prix – and we had pretty solid pace during the runs in race trim on Friday.”