Andrew Shovlin said the work done in between the Austrian and Styrian Grand Prix paid off handsomely for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finishing first and second on Sunday.
The first race of the year at the Red Bull Ring saw both drivers warned repeatedly to avoid the kerbs as they battled with gearbox and suspension issues, but the engineers worked hard in the three days in between events to find solutions to the problems.
Hamilton and Bottas were able to push right through the Styrian Grand Prix and earned themselves the top two positions on the podium, with the latter retaining his lead in the Drivers’ Championship just ahead of his team-mate.
“A perfect result: well done to the drivers and to the team!” said Shovlin. “And especially to everyone who was involved in getting on top of the electrical issues that we had last week.
“We only had three days to understand the problem and produce parts in time for free practice, but we seem to be in a good place now which is a huge relief. That certainly helped us have a much smoother race today.
“The car was pretty strong, and we were able to do what we needed in stint one.”
Shovlin spoke about the differing tyre strategies the team employed with the drivers, although both stops were brought forward ever so slightly due to both Hamilton and Bottas approaching traffic.
The tactics with Bottas worked particularly well as he used his fresher tyres to reel in and pass Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen to finish second to his team-mate, despite some annoying backmarkers getting in his way as he attempted to close the gap.
“Lewis built a gap to Max and Valtteri got through the traffic so that we were in position to undercut or force him into stopping,” Shovlin added. “We’d wanted to run a bit longer with Lewis on the first stint but we were approaching backmarkers so we decided to bring him in and bank the position.
“Valtteri stayed out to create an off-set tyre strategy to Max but again we decided to box as we approached some backmarkers at the end of the opening stint.
“The second stint for Lewis was straightforward, he was just managing his gap and looking after the car and power unit. Valtteri had a bit more on his plate; he lost a big chunk of time with some backmarkers who were racing each other.
“Despite that, Valtteri was able to put in some great laps and was forecast to catch him the end of the race, then Max suffered a bit of damage along with tyre degradation and Valtteri reeled him in more quickly, making a great pass to take the position.”
All attention now switches to the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring this coming weekend, but Shovlin says it was a fantastic achievement to win both races at the Red Bull Ring and head both championships on a track they’ve not had the best of luck on in recent years.
“It’s fantastic to leave here with two wins and leading both championships; it’s not been our favourite track in recent years but we’re now looking forward to getting going again in Budapest in five days’ time,” Shovlin concluded.