Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s chief race engineer, Andrew Shovlin, was positive about the team’s results in the Russian Grand Prix this weekend, but acknowledges there are mistakes which need to be rectified.
Lewis Hamilton started on pole position, dropping down to third by the end of the race due to two time penalties which he received for violations of the rules surrounding practice starts before the race. Valtteri Bottas took victory, having started in third position.
Shovlin praised Bottas for his performance in the race, and the weekend as a whole. He added Hamilton’s weekend started to become difficult during qualifying on Saturday after he lost his first lap time in the second session, and then his second run was impeded by a red flag bringing the session to a halt.
“Valtteri did an excellent job today and it was very nice to see him on the top step of the podium again. He had a good weekend overall and drove a strong race to finish it with a win. Lewis had a more difficult weekend.
“The issues already started yesterday when he had his first time in Qualifying 2 deleted and the session was red flagged when he was at the end of his second Qualifying 2 run.”
Shovlin explained that starting on the soft tyre was not ideal as grip can be lost very quickly once the tyre starts to wear.
“It ultimately meant that he had to qualify on the Soft tyre which put him on the wrong foot for the race. The challenge with that compound is they keep fairly consistent grip levels until you get down to the underlayer of the tyre – and then you suddenly lose a lot of grip.
“When we pitted Lewis there was very little rubber left on the rear left tyre and while it might have been able to do another lap or two, you just risk suddenly losing grip which would bring other people into your pit window.
“Lewis served his penalty when he pitted and after that it was all about trying to secure the maximum result. It was a difficult day for Lewis, but he still came away with reasonable points and still holds a commanding position in the Championship.”
Shovlin said the team will now put this weekend behind them, and turn their attention to the next race at the Nürburgring in two weeks time.
“We’re now looking forward to going back to the Nürburgring in two weeks; there are a number of things we could have done better in Sochi this weekend and we’ll try and put them right at the Eifel GP,” he said.