Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin has explained how the team concentrated their efforts on ensuring that their tyres didn't overheat at the Brazilian Grand Prix, which enabled them to keep up the pace over the course weekend.
Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory at Interlagos from 10th on the starting grid, after serving a five-place penalty for a fresh ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) fitted to his car on Friday.
Asked whether Mercedes or rivals Red Bull had the quicker package in Brazil, Shovlin said his team felt they had the upper hand throughout.
"I think this weekend came our way," Shovlin, Mercedes' Trackside Engineering Director, told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"The car was working well on a single lap. We had good pace in the cooler conditions in the Sprint [Qualifying] race, [and] we were keeping the tyres in a really good region.
"Part of being able to mount a recovery like that is being able to stop the tyres overheating, because that tends to just neutralise your advantage and it pulls everyone to the same pace.
"In the race [on Sunday], it was a really, really strong performance on a really hot track. We were up at 50 degrees centigrade. It's an aggressive circuit, and the car was still working really well.
"To have performed, over the various sessions in such a range of conditions, has been really encouraging, when you look at the challenges we're going to get over the next three tracks."
Was their superiority a surprise?
Given that Red Bull were clearly faster just seven days prior, in Mexico, and that Mercedes didn't fare particularly well when F1 last visited Interlagos in 2019, Shovlin admitted that the team hadn't been convinced they would be strong going to Brazil.
"After Mexico, we don't really go into a race thinking, 'This will be a Mercedes track', or, 'This will be a Red Bull track'," he said.
"What we were looking at, coming here, was we were pretty lacklustre in 2019 with a car that generally was the class of the field.
"So the focus really was on the setup direction. Did we make any mistakes that year? What were the issues that we were suffering within the race? How are we going to find the performance?
"But when you looked at the actual package that we've got, the aero package, the mechanical package, the power units, we weren't finding answers to the question of why were we poor in 2019.
"The focus was very much on trying to put out a car that could compete that could get pole position. It was encouraging to see that we were able to do it.
"But on the back of a weak race two years ago, you're always very reticent to say we're going to go somewhere and be strong."
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