Mercedes technical director James Allison was pleased with the speed the team was able to show during the Las Vegas Grand Prix. The German racing team did lose some ground compared to Ferrari, but the race weekend confirmed that the Grand Prix of São Paulo was only an outlier. A good result was certainly possible, but things went wrong due to George Russell’s time penalty. Allison thought the time penalty was completely justified.
After an unpleasant Grand Prix of São Paulo, Mercedes wanted to take revenge in Las Vegas. Russell seemed to be the right person to score a lot of points for the German racing team. “George managed to tie everything together during qualifying,” says Allison on the F1 Nation podcast. ‘He really looked stronger there, especially since Lewis (Hamilton, ed.) was in a better rhythm the day earlier. Qualifying ended in an unpleasant way for Lewis, but we had the feeling that both drivers would have a good race.’
Mercedes still suffers from air resistance and on the Las Vegas Strip Circuit, with a straight stretch of almost two kilometers, this is absolutely not desirable. Yet Russell’s starting position did not come out of the blue in Allison’s eyes. ‘We were not surprised at all. We have a competitive package overall, but Interlagos was just an outlier. Ultimately, it is of course a relief to conclude that Brazil was an outlier and not the norm.’
Punish Russell rightly
The race ultimately did not go as desired due to all the chaos. Hamilton was in a tight spot at the start and Russell had an incident with Max Verstappen, causing a possible podium finish to slip through his fingers. After the race the young Briton had to sit on the blisters. ‘He was to blame in that situation. It was just a shame that we couldn’t go all out to make up for it. George Russell mainly blamed himself for this. He thought he should have expected Max there.”
Mercedes is looking forward to battle with Ferrari
Due to the good result of Ferrari, which finished in second and sixth place respectively with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the last race of the season will be exciting for Mercedes. Ferrari is only four points behind, putting second place in the championship under pressure. Normally Mercedes runs excellently on the circuit in Abu Dhabi, but Allison can’t do much with that. ‘The past doesn’t matter much. It is especially important that our drivers in Abu Dhabi want to show what our car is capable of. Hopefully it will be a nice and fair fight.’