Wednesday, November 24, 2021 8:47 PM – Last update: 8:49 PM
Mercedes CEO Andrew Shovlin copied Max Verstappen’s strategy for his driver Lewis Hamilton in Qatar. The British Formula 1 engineer wanted to control the race and anticipated Verstappen’s choices, he says in the Mercedes Debrief.
Despite Hamilton’s lead at the Qatar Grand Prix, Mercedes only considered Verstappen. So much so that when the Dutchman entered the pits, Hamilton followed the lap after. That while the Briton indicated that he did not want to make a pit stop too early. The trackside engineering director wanted to avoid an undercut of the Red Bull driver and therefore copied the steps taken by the leader in the standings.
‘Normal in title fight’
The Mercedes CEO says about copying behaviour: “That is normal when you are in a title fight. Especially when you control the race and are in the lead.” It is therefore not fear, but rather precaution. “Should there be an unfortunate safety car or the tires would wear faster than we expected, we could have lost the lead,” he explains. In addition, we can expect the same from Red Bull. “Should Max lead one more of the races, I think she will [Red Bull] going to do something similar”, Shovlin expects.
The penultimate round of the world championship will take place in Saudi Arabia. The fight for the world title will continue there. Verstappen leads the championship with only eight points. Still, there is a theoretical chance that he could be champion after the next race. Mercedes will do everything it can to prevent that.