The first Free Practice session in Austin showed Mercedes’ superiority over the rest of the grid. But the lowering of rear-wings astounded everyone.
Christian Horner spoke about the rear suspension of the Mercedes car. The W12’s rear seems to drop down when it is on a straight. This, in turn, allows the drag to reduce and increases their straight-line speed significantly.
The Red Bull Team Principal’s theory is further confirmed by footage from the Turkish GP, which shows the rear wing of the Mercedes dropping down on the straights and rising back up to its original position when braking to go into the corner.
Sky Sports analyst Paul Di Resta noticed and brought the sagging rear end of the W12 to the notice of his fellow Sky colleagues.
The reason why Mercedes are quicker than Red Bull at the moment pic.twitter.com/O2xFbU9rXB
— Ethan ⛈🧡 (@_Regenmeister) October 22, 2021
While being interviewed by Sky Sports, Horner mentioned: “If you look at the rear of their car, you can see that it moves down on the straight.”
Toto Wolff, however, maintains that the lowering of the rear suspension is nothing new and also completely legal. “Those are all nice stories, but everyone is working on improving the suspension and we have been doing that for a long time.”
“People always think that there is a golden discovery, but my experience shows that this is not the case,” the Silver Arrows Team boss had to say.
Sergio Perez’s redemption for Red Bull in FP2
Sergio Perez put in the fastest lap in Austin at the end of Final Practice 2. Perez seems to be quite confident going into this weekend. His lap times were up there with the top 5 for the majority of the session. At one point, they were even putting the fastest lap with the Hard tyres on.
Max also seemed more comfortable with his car compared to Turkey but had a bit of bad luck concerning the opportunity to set his fastest laps. The Dutch driver constantly got caught up in traffic and voiced his frustrations openly from the cockpit over the radio.
This was the first session since Zandvoort where Red Bull has come out on top. Before this, it has been primarily Mercedes topping the timesheets.