Mercedes admit they "didn't have the pace for pole position" in Austin

24-10-2021 00:53
F1 News
Mercedes admit they didn't have the pace for pole position in Austin

Lewis Hamilton took provisional pole position, but his lap wasn't good enough to fend off Max Verstappen's 1:32.910 in the dying stages of Q3. Andrew Shovlin of Mercedes admits they didn't have the pace for pole position. He feels there are chances for Lewis Hamilton to beat his Championship rival in Sunday's race. 

Close fight

It was a close battle throughout qualifying, with Sergio Perez also throwing his hat into the ring for pole position. In the end, Hamilton was around two-tenths short of P1. Bottas managed to get fourth place, but will drop to ninth after Mercedes installed his sixth internal combustion engine of the season, and therefore a penalty. 

"We didn't have the pace for pole today, but it was a good effort by Lewis to get the car onto the front row. Unfortunately, Valtteri has to serve the penalty for his ICE change, which will drop him to 9th, but at least it is a circuit where you can overtake. So hopefully we can recover well," Shovlin said in the Mercedes press release.

Over the last few years, Verstappen has usually been battling both Mercedes drivers. But the tables have turned in Austin as Perez managed to reach the top three positions in one of his best qualifying performances. This time around, Hamilton is alone against both Red Bulls. But Shovlin sees chances with the tyres. 

"Strategically it's going to be a bit harder with Red Bull having both cars up at the sharp end of the grid but ultimately, it's going to come down to who's quicker and who's easiest on the tyres. We're happy with our start tyre choice and we've got new Mediums and Hards with both drivers, so there are plenty of strategy options for us to look at this evening. The wind is also making it tricky out there and the track is very tough on the tyres so it's going to be challenging, but that can also create opportunity so let's see how we fare tomorrow," he added. 

Video player

More videos

  • Small
  • Big