While both Mercedes were faster than Red Bulls on Friday morning, Red Bull Racing appears to have found more speed than Mercedes between Friday’s practice. Verstappen was four-tenths faster than Valtteri Bottas on Friday afternoon and half a second faster than Lewis Hamilton. So there is a lot of work to be done for the Mercedes team from Brackley to get the W12 around the track in Mexico City faster.
Given the timing difference with factories in Great Britain, it is plausible that the Mercedes and Red Bull Racing bases worked hard last night to bring the cars up to speed for the rest of the Mexican Grand Prix.
Very little downward pressure.
Lewis Hamilton indicated on Friday night that he lacked descending pressure throughout the entire lap and Valtteri Bottas also indicated that there are still plenty of improvements to be made if the team is to fight for the top spot in Mexico. There is indeed room for improvement, said Andrew Shovlin, chief technology officer at Mercedes. So a lot of work will be done to get faster in Hamilton and Bottas cars with better settings.
“Focus on ourselves”
Shovlin: “We had a decent first day, and the first session was smoother than the second, but the car and power unit seemed to adapt well to the height of the track. We stayed very focused on our one-lap and long sprint program.”
Max Verstappen turned out to be faster on Friday afternoon, and Lewis Hamilton was still half a second off each lap of the Dutchman’s Red Bull. Shovlin: “Obviously there is still some time to catch up with Max Verstappen on a fast lap, but we have some balance issues that need to be fixed, so hopefully we can bridge that gap a little bit.”
The speed of the longer distance races is still unclear
“The long-distance picture is still a bit blurry as we focused on different tires than our competitors, but the balance is reasonable and the solid tire seems to be doing well. We didn’t come here expecting it to be easy and there are obviously a few things we need to work on. , but compared to some Fridays we had in Mexico, we’re off to a good start.”
According to F1 journalist Gary Anderson, the Mercedes staff at Brackley will be working hard last night. For now, the big question remains how far Mercedes can improve from Friday to Saturday.
Mercedes will burn midnight oil in Brackley tonight to find setup solutions. The problem is, so is Red Bull in Milton Keynes. I can’t wait until tomorrow to see who does the best job
– Gary Anderson (@GaryAndersonF1) November 5, 2021
Also, Red Bull Racing will not remain idle in the run-up to the qualifiers. According to Anderson, the light will also have burned out at the Red Bull Racing home tonight. Whether the smart minds of both teams come up with better settings so the cars go faster will be shown on Saturday night during VT3 and qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix.
Plenty is at stake for both teams: Red Bull Racing is still 23 points in the World Cup from Mercedes, while Max Verstappen leads the Drivers’ World Championship by 12 points with only five Grand Prix left in 2021, including this weekend’s race.
From 21:00 Dutch time it will be clear how the drivers divide the starting positions.
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