Mercedes-AMG Motorsport‘s chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin says the team’s historic fifth consecutive one-two finish is an “amazing” achievement and a testament to how hard the team has worked to improve the car.
Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton claim his 76th F1 victory ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. The result was Hamilton’s third win of 2019 and continues the Silver Arrows’ record-breaking start to the season.
“To walk away with another 1-2 from Barcelona is amazing – especially when we consider how bleak our chances looked when we were here in winter testing, ” Shovlin said. “The team has done a great job developing and improving the car.”
Hamilton jumped Bottas off the line at the start of the race and the pair held a comfortable gap to Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen, who jumped the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel to climb to third place.
“The start was obviously a key point in the race, with Lewis jumping ahead of Valtteri,” Shovlin said.
“We’ll look into understanding what happened with Valtteri but they both did a good job of defending against Vettel and avoiding contact into turn one.”
Strategy was a minor concern for the team as they had originally planned to run a one-stop strategy on both their cars but were able to switch to a two-stop following Verstappen’s extra pit-stop and the lap 47 safety car caused by Lance Stroll and Lando Norris’ turn two clash.
When Verstappen came in on lap 44, a window appeared for us to move both to a two stop to reduce the risk that we would run out of tyres at the end.” explained Shovlin. “We’d stopped Valtteri already and were in the process of bringing Lewis in when the safety car came out. From there is was quite straight forward.”
However, the 46-year-old expects the gap between Mercedes and the other teams to reduce in the coming races, with Monaco next up on the calendar in just under two weeks time.