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Shovlin: Mercedes taking encouragement from car's pace

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin is taking the positives from Saturday's Sprint Qualifying race, believing the W12 showed enough pace to be able to fight Red Bull properly.

Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin believes closing the championship gap to Red Bull and Max Verstappen is still possible this weekend, despite the Dutch driver's victory in the Sprint Qualifying race on Saturday giving him pole position for Sunday. Having been beaten on single lap pace in Friday qualifying, Verstappen stormed into the lead at the start of the 17 lap qualifying race and was able to control it from there. Having been relegated to second and losing further ground in the championship, Shovlin reckons there's still the potential to turn things around. "It's not ideal to have lost a place with Lewis off the start but we can take some encouragement in the car pace which is hopefully enough to put Max under pressure tomorrow," Shovlin told the media after the Sprint Qualifying race. Mercedes ahve brought updates to the W12 for Silverstone, attempting to close the gap to Red Bull after Verstappen dominated both Austrian races. With Verstappen lonely at the front with Sergio Perez starting from the very back, Shovlin is hopeful of putting the pressure on Red Bull through strategy. "We also have two cars at the front which will open up some strategic opportunities," he said. "After the first lap there wasn't much that we could do; on the same age tyres it was hard for Lewis to get close enough to attack and for Valtteri, he was doing a bit more management to cover for the fact he was on the Soft tyre. "Having the sprint race today does make it a little easier to plan for tomorrow as you've got a clear idea of everyone's pace and how the tyres are behaving so we have a bit of work this evening to take the maximum learning from that. "Our goal was to come here, to win and to close the gap in the Championship and I think from what we've seen over the last two days, that's still an achievable target."

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