Shovlin hopeful after poor start for Red Bull: ‘Didn’t seem like the team to beat’

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Shovlin hopeful after poor start for Red Bull: 'Didn't seem like the team to beat'

Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director, looks back on the first free session of the GP weekend in Singapore with mixed feelings. The W14 seems to perform excellently in the long runs, but according to the Briton there is still work to be done in one round. Shovlin is further surprised by the unusual ranking on Friday. For a change, Red Bull Racing does not seem to be the clear favorite.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell spoke after the first sessions of ‘the best Friday of the year’. However, Shovlin only partly shares the view of his drivers. The race pace looks promising, but in a press release from Mercedes, the Mercedes man says that there is still some room for improvement in the qualifying runs.

“We had solid sessions today and both drivers were happy with the balance at the end of the day,” said Shovlin. ‘There is some work to be done to understand how to approach the qualifying round on the soft tyre. It didn’t feel like we were getting the most out of the compound and George (Russell, ed.) was able to improve later in the run. The race pace was quite strong. It’s always difficult to keep the heat out of the rear tires here, but we seem to be there.’

For a change, Red Bull does not seem to be the absolute favorite

Due to the balance problems of Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, the Austrian team in Singapore does not appear to be the top favorite for the first time in a long time. However, Shovlin expects that Red Bull will be able to solve the problems in time and is counting on an exciting battle for pole position. ‘Ferrari looked fast, just like McLaren and Aston Martin. For a change, Red Bull didn’t seem like the team to beat. However, we assume that they can solve the problems before Saturday. And that means that many drivers will be competing for the top positions on the grid. The field is clearly very close together, so we will try to find some speed tonight. We look forward to an exciting qualifying session,” said Shovlin.

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