Mercedes not afraid of Red Bull: "Expecting another close fight tomorrow"

17-04-2021 16:25
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Mercedes not afraid of Red Bull: Expecting another close fight tomorrow

Mercedes will be looking back at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying with mixed feelings. With Lewis Hamilton on pole, they have a good prospect of Sunday, but teammate Valtteri Bottas managed to get no further than eighth position and so Hamilton is alone in the fight with Red Bull Racing.

For, where Red Bull had Max Verstappen alone on pole in Bahrain, with Hamilton and Bottas around him, the roles are reversed in Imola. Sergio Perez and Verstappen are on P2 and P3 this time and will therefore challenge Hamilton hard tomorrow. For Mercedes pole position is already a small victory.

Tyre choice gives flexibility

"Hamilton had to work hard for this one but drove really well through the session. It's not been an easy day by any measure. We were struggling to get enough temperature for a single lap and if you start with the tyres on the cold side, the grip just isn't there and you spend most of the lap sliding around," Andrew Shovlin acknowledged in Mercedes' review.

"We've got a bit of analysis to do to understand Valtteri's issue. He was looking very strong in Q1 but set his best time on the third lap and couldn't repeat that time for the rest of the session." This leaves Hamilton alone in his battle with Verstappen in the opening stages. "We're expecting another close fight tomorrow, we've at least got both cars on the medium tyre which should give us flexibility around stop laps and hopefully we've got a car that's fast enough to fight for the win," Shovlin concluded.

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