Formula 1

Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin: “It’s useful to have found a few issues that we can get stuck into”

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Credit: Jiri Krenek

Andrew Shovlin says the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team made a good start to the United States Grand Prix weekend on Friday by finishing first and second in the opening practice session at the Circuit of the Americas, but the second session was far from the strongest for the team.

Valtteri Bottas topped the morning session just ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but the team ended third and fourth in the afternoon, Hamilton ahead of Bottas, with Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez and McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris finding their way ahead.

Shovlin, the Track Engineering Director at Mercedes, says there are question marks to why the team appeared to lose competitiveness in between sessions, as it could be a number of reasons, including a possible failure to adapt to the warm conditions at the Circuit of the Americas.

However, he feels it is useful to find these issues as he knows there is plenty the team can improve on ahead of what is expected to be another tight Qualifying session between Mercedes and Red Bull on Saturday.

“The first session was very good in terms of single lap pace; both cars were getting good grip out of the Soft tyres and the balance was in a good place,” said Shovlin.  “The track is pretty bumpy, which causes issues in a couple of corners, but it’s not so different to previous years and certainly not as bad as we feared.

“The second session didn’t look as strong, it was easy to overheat the tyres and that was making it harder to be consistent. Lewis had a lap deleted that would have us looking more competitive, but regardless, it seemed like we’d lost a bit of pace.

“That could be down to a number of things; perhaps we’d not adapted to the hotter conditions well, others may have improved, or it could be that some of our changes haven’t worked as expected.

“It’s useful to have found a few issues that we can get stuck into this this evening as there’s plenty we can do to improve, but the overall feeling from the second session is that it’s going to be very tight at the front and both Red Bulls are looking like they are in the fight for pole.”

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