Mercedes believes they will keep the pacing lead at some of the remaining races this season despite being clearly overtaken by Red Bull at the Mexican Grand Prix. Max Verstappen secured two consecutive victories: the U.S. Grand Prix and last week’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez which resulted in him having 19 points more than Lewis Hamilton in the drivers ’championship.
That moved Red Bull to achieve its tenth win of the season, four more than Mercedes, so the German team now have only one-point advantage in the constructors ’championship. Of the upcoming four races - Qatar GP (Losail) and the Saudi Arabia GP (Jeddah) - there are completely new tracks in the Formula 1 calendar, while the Yas Marina: Abu Dhabi GP has undergone revisions since last year’s race.
"It's hard, because you usually see performance down this far in the season, and the changes are still big," explains race director Andrew Shovlin. "There will be a track that will suit us, we have had extremely strong races in Turkey and Sochi and a lot of strong races since the summer break."
"So it will be up and down. We are definitely done with the work, they are a little ahead of us, but it will be affected by the weather, the temperatures on the track and those things will play a role. " "But the biggest thing will be the characteristics of the track.
It seems that when we are on a track that requires understeer, we usually go a little better, and then the last two races were about overheating the rear tires and it is quite clear that they have an advantage when we are in that situation.
Shovlin on the race
Shovlin suggested that the two leading teams should be closer in Brazil, but he outlined key indicators that are likely to have an impact. "The weather there is very unstable," Shovlin added of Sao Paulo.
“You can have a 50-degree track one day, and that can be a rinse (rain) the next day. I think the advantage if it's a hot track will probably move in their direction, a little cloud cover could suit us. " “But one advantage they had [in Mexico] is that they were able to move a step forward with the downforce on the back wing where they normally drive, but for us, that’s how we drive normally."
"But it seems that their car has more downforce than us on wings of identical size - that was in their favor. " "In Brazil, it should be a minor problem, but it's very difficult to predict, and when we come here, we'll look at the weaknesses of our car and figure out how we can minimize them," Shovlin concluded.