Mercedes warn Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes are looking to rebound from a Qatar collision that ended Lewis Hamilton’s race seconds into the Grand Prix.

Mercedes is gearing up for the upcoming United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, where concerns about the high-speed performance of their cars loom large. 

With the race being part of the Formula 1 calendar and another Sprint weekend offering more points, the stakes are high for the teams.

Mercedes, currently vying for second place in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships, faces a unique challenge at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), according to Mercedes’ trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin. 

He expressed his apprehension, stating, “It’s an aggressive tarmac, very easy to overheat the tires and probably our worry there is going to be the high-speed performance. 

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“That’s where Red Bull and McLaren look particularly strong.”

However, Shovlin remains optimistic about the characteristics of the COTA track, noting, “It does have plenty of low-speed corners, and in Qatar, we were very good in the low-speed [last weekend].” 

The team’s goal is to compete for a podium finish in Austin.

In retrospect, Mercedes drivers will be cautious about avoiding a repeat of Sunday’s first-lap mishap, which saw Lewis Hamilton, on the grippier soft tire, collide with teammate George Russell. 

Article continues below

This incident led to Hamilton’s early exit from the race.

READ: Max Verstappen dismisses Gerhard Berger’s claim

Shovlin elaborated on the strategy behind the unfortunate collision, saying, “Given that George had got a very good start with the soft the day before – it also went very well on the safety car restarts – we elected to start Lewis on the soft tire because of that better grip off the line. 

“There were also unlikely to be any downsides in terms of range.” 

He added, “It was important they didn’t lose time racing each other, and that was clear, but we weren’t imposing team orders in the race. What happened at Turn 1 was simply a mistake.”