“We thought when we had just over three seconds to Max”– Mercedes ‘ data showed Max Verstappen wouldn’t be able to undercut.
One of the crucial moments of the race was when Max Verstappen managed to undercut Lewis Hamilton during the latter’s first pitstop in France. Leading Verstappen to regain his lead in the race after the initial debacle.
Mercedes‘ Andrew Shovlin revealed that their system showed an increased difference between Verstappen and Hamilton by 0.5 seconds, so they believed that the Dutch race driver wouldn’t be able to overtake.
“We thought when we had just over three seconds to Max, we were safe from the undercut, and that wasn’t the case,” Shovlin said to Motorsport.com.
“Even now, we don’t fully understand why our models were telling us that we would have been OK. So clearly there’s something we need to go off and understand there.”
“The hard tyre was good, and it was it was good out of the box,” Shovlin said. “But that’s the bit we still need to go through because we haven’t yet understood quite why we lost the position.”
“We can account for about two and a half seconds of the three seconds. But it’s something that we need to dig into the fine detail to understand how we were undercut from so far back because we weren’t expecting that.”
Mercedes could have brought Lewis Hamilton early
Mercedes had an opportunity to call Hamilton in the next lap when they called in Bottas, but Shovlin explained that the team thought it was still early if it wanted to make the hards last to the end.
“It was uncomfortably early to go to the end, which, I think as the race played out, you saw that that was the case,” Shovlin said. “And also the concern on Valtteri’s car was that he was getting an increasing vibration that was getting worse and worse every lap, that was starting to get to levels where we will box the car for reliability concerns.
“So really, the focus was on making sure that we didn’t have an issue on track with him, so that was why we did it. In reality, Valtteri’s stop triggered the pit stops at the front of the grid. And that was what drove us to have to do a very long, long stint with Lewis.”