Mercedes engineer: "It wasn't the perfect preparation for tomorrow"

26-09-2020 16:18
F1 News
Mercedes engineer: It wasn't the perfect preparation for tomorrow

Mercedes didn't lockout the front row of the grid for Sunday's Russian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen was faster than Valtteri Bottas at the very last moment of the Saturday session, the Dutchman slipped into P2. Engineer Andrew Shovlin says it was a disappointing qualifying as Bottas starts third and Lewis Hamilton doesn't start on the desired medium tyres.

Disappointment

"We had the pace today to get the cars on the front row with both starting on Medium tyres so it's a bit disappointing to have Lewis starting the race on Soft and Valtteri in third," Shovlin said in the Mercedes press release.

According to Shovlin, Q1 was not Mercedes' neatest session, but the cars made it through to the second part without any problems. "The second session was really where things started to get complicated. Valtteri did a decent first lap on the Medium, but the track was improving quickly, and we had to take a second set to make sure we covered further track evolution," he added.

"Lewis did a very quick first lap, but ran a bit wide at the final corner so his time was deleted. We didn't have enough fuel in the car to do another lap, so had no choice but to box. We sent Lewis early on another Medium tyre and he was on a good lap going into the penultimate corner when the red flag came out for Sebastien's crash, which was simply unfortunate timing. The focus then shifted to just making sure we got Lewis through to Q3: We knew the outlap would be a mess given that there was only two minutes and 15 seconds on the clock, but he was just able to cross the line before the flag and despite traffic, managed to get a lap together." 

Verstappen faster

"Q3 was a bit more straight forward although Valtteri struggled to get the tyres in the right window and unfortunately got pipped by Max on the final run. Lewis did a couple of really impressive laps, but rather than celebrating another pole position, I think he'll be thinking that he'd happily swap it for a Medium tyre of the line tomorrow. So, it wasn't the perfect preparation for tomorrow, but we've still got a chance for either of our cars to win and it should make the race very exciting."

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