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Why Mercedes weren't surprised by Red Bull pace in Austin

Mercedes couldn't match Red Bull's pace in Austin, but Andrew Shovlin says the team weren't surprised given what they learned at the Dutch Grand Prix back in September.

Hamilton Verstappen USA START
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin says Red Bull's pace advantage at the United States Grand Prix wasn't all that surprising given a similar scenario played out at Zandvoort earlier this season.

Although Mercedes impressed during FP1 in Austin, that advantage faded over the course of the weekend. Max Verstappen took pole position and then the victory, a result that means he now sits 12 points up on Lewis Hamilton in the standings.

Shovlin explained that Mercedes had cause for concern heading to the United States given the issues they experienced with the rear of the car in the Netherlands back in September.

"I wouldn't say that we were really surprised by it," Shovlin told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media. "We were aware of the areas where we may struggle.

"Zandvoort was one where we were struggling with the rear end, and they [Red Bull] seemed to be in a better position. That experience gave us cause for concern coming here [Austin], and we knew that the circuit is going to be one where you're overheating tyres.

"We're not really going into any of these races filling in a chart of where we're going to be quick, and where we're going to be slow. We know what we need to get right on our car, we know what we need to do in terms of getting the tyres into the right window to operate.

"We know the homework that we need to do on a Friday to be able to make those those calls accurately."

Next up is the Mexico City Grand Prix, a race that has favoured Red Bull in the past. Despite the disadvantage on paper, Shovlin says Mercedes' focus is on getting the most out of their car.

"If you're looking ahead to Mexico, that's a track that in the past has suited them," Shovlin added. "It has suited the Honda power unit, but regardless of that, we've still got to arrive with a car that's performing at the best of the car's ability, and give a car to Lewis and Valtteri [Bottas] that allows them to do their best job.

"That's the only thing that we're working on. We're not really worrying about where Red Bull are."

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