Shovlin: Mercedes F1 became ‘makers of our own issues’ in Austria

Mercedes became “the makers of our own issues” in Austria after a poor qualifying display ended any real chance of challenging Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen, says Andrew Shovlin.

Verstappen picked up Red Bull’s fifth consecutive victory on Sunday at the Red Bull Ring, extending his lead in the drivers’ championship over Lewis Hamilton to 32 points.

Hamilton lost an “easy second” place finish after picking up damage to the rear end of his car, causing him to slip behind Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and McLaren’s Lando Norris to fourth place.

While second and fourth place marked a move up the order from qualifying, where Hamilton and Bottas could only finish fourth and fifth, Mercedes trackside engineering director Shovlin said the team was “not pleased with the result”.

“I think we would have been satisfied with a second and a third, which was realistically the best we could have done,” Shovlin said. “We were the makers of our own issues a bit with the poor qualifying yesterday. So that made it very, very difficult to be even thinking of challenging Max.

“I think in reality, his pace was too strong, that even if Lewis had had stint one behind him, I don’t think we’d have troubled them.

“The car has not been working well, but then we had damage on Lewis’ car with some deterioration of some of the aero bits on the rear cake tin, and that cost him a lot of performance, which ultimately was what dropped him from second to fourth.

“Overall, a bit frustrating, both from a performance point of view and the fact that we need to keep the car in one piece.”

Mercedes saw its cars get outqualified by both Red Bull drivers on Saturday, as well as McLaren’s Lando Norris, who also spent the majority of the first stint of the race ahead of both Hamilton and Bottas.

By the time Hamilton overtook Norris for second place on Lap 20, the gap to Verstappen at the front had already grown to over nine seconds.

The struggles in qualifying came in spite of an impressive Friday for Mercedes as it took a 1-2 finish in FP2.

Shovlin explained that the softest compound tyre in Austria – the C5 – had not worked as well on the Mercedes W12 on Saturday as it had on Friday, offering less performance in the warmer conditions.

“We haven’t been particularly strong here in general,” Shovlin said. “That isn’t so much evident in the gap to where Red Bull are, just how much pressure we were under really with McLaren and Lando did a great job, but ended up ahead of us.

“[For] some of those, this track isn’t suiting the car, and we’ve not made any real inroads to that over the two races here. So that feels like a bit of a longer term thing to look at.

“And then also, that very soft compound, the C5, just wasn’t giving us as much in the hot conditions on Saturday as we were getting from it on Friday. And there’s another question there.

“It wasn’t so much that we did anything wrong, but when you look at where the performance order was, we would have to acknowledge that there’s something we’re doing that isn’t right.”

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

Why the FIA is unmoved over Austria F1 penalty criticism

Previous article

Why the FIA is unmoved over Austria F1 penalty criticism

Next article

Vettel puts last lap F1 crash with Raikkonen down to ‘misunderstanding’

Vettel puts last lap F1 crash with Raikkonen down to ‘misunderstanding’
Load comments
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021