Mercedes AMG Motorsport‘s Chief Race Engineer Andrew Shovlin has called the German Grand Prix “a very frustrating day”, after Valtteri Bottas crashed out in the inclement weather, and his Championship-leading team-mate Lewis Hamilton initially finished out of the points, only to be promoted to ninth after the two Alfa Romeo Racing cars were disqualified.
Making the result even harder to take was that this weekend marks the team’s 200th race in Formula 1.
“A very frustrating day. We had opportunity to get both cars in really good points but failed to take them and that’s always painful,” said Shovlin.
He added that the rain made things more difficult than usual, also ending up being caught out when the rest of the field took the decision to switch to dry tyres.
“The weather wasn’t easy to deal with, the rain was coming and going and around midway we were in reasonable shape but got caught out on dry tyres when the rain got heavier.”
Shovlin said that a poor strategy call put them on the back foot, meaning Bottas lost a place to Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen.
“With Valtteri we went to mediums the lap after Max, which was ok but we should have reacted sooner when the safety car came out to take the opportunity to go to back to intermediate and that cost him the position.”
The team’s streak of bad luck continued when Hamilton pitted, due to a mix up with tyres and the need for a front wing change. The poor track conditions saw many drivers go off the track, including Scuderia Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc.
“With Lewis our timing was about as bad as it could be, we’d stopped for softs just as the conditions were getting worse and then he slipped off the track the next lap in the same place as Charles [Leclerc] went off. We were ready for Valtteri to come in, so when Lewis needed a nose change we just weren’t ready and lost a load of time.”
Shovlin recognised that some of the factors which resulted in their far from ideal result were out of their control.
“Despite all that, we were still 2nd and 3rd during the next safety car period but we were too cautious with the jump to dry tyres and lost position with both.
“On top of that, Lewis had the penalty to serve and should have done that earlier as we lost of a load of positions once everyone was bunched up. We then had both drivers spin at turn 1 in the damp, which pretty much finished our day.”
Despite these mishaps, Shovlin and the rest of the team are determined to come back stronger for the next race at the Hungaroring this weekend, which is the final outing before the summer break.
“Really disappointing and sometimes these days help you improve so we are looking forward to getting back on the track next week in Budapest.”