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Late safety car cost Verstappen victory in Bahrain, Shovlin now admits

Late safety car cost Verstappen victory in Bahrain, Shovlin now admits

02-12-2020 17:23 Last update: 17:54


The final phase of the Bahrain Grand Prix would have looked totally different if it wasn't for a late safety car that stayed on until the end of the race. The podium would probably have looked different as well, with not Lewis Hamilton but Max Verstappen at the top. This is also acknowledged by Mercedes-boss Andrew Shovlin.

If the late safety car at Sakhir had gone in before the finish line, Max Verstappen would probably have won first place, all because he was in a much better position than Hamilton in terms of tyre strategy towards the end of the race. Shovlin explains, in the Mercedes-debrief on Youtube:  “If the race had resumed Lewis would have probably been in trouble. His set was quite old, Max was on fresher medium tires and would certainly have been putting Lewis under a lot of pressure.”

Shovlin then shines a light on how his team chose to keep Hamilton's Mercedes outside and not call in for a new set of tyres: “When we made the decision to stay out we were effectively certain the race wouldnt restart. the pack is spread out they need to form up behind the safety car, they then let all the lapped cars overtake and recover the lap.”

Well calculated

“Realistically, this process isn’t going to ever take less than four laps," argues Shovlin. And with success, Hamilton was the first to cross the finish line behind the safety car, and managed to keep both Red Bulls behind him. 

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