Shovlin Blames Lewis Hamilton’s Poor Monza F1 Start on Last-Minute Mercedes Change

Published 09/16/2021, 5:05 AM EDT
Motorsports: FIA Formula One World Championship 2014, Grand Prix of Austria, Andrew Shovlin, #44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team), (Photo by Hoch Zwei/Corbis via Getty Images)


Lewis Hamilton had a good start to his Italian Grand Prix weekend. He qualified on the front row in P2 after Friday Qualifying behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas. But at the start of Sprint Qualifying, he made a terrible start and went back to P6 before finishing the sprint in P5.

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The start of the sprint messed up the entire weekend for the Mercedes driver, as he could not make an impression for the rest of the weekend. In the end, he and title rival Max Verstappen crashed into each other and retired. Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin explains why Lewis had a poor start in the sprint.

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Andrew Shovlin explains why Lewis Hamilton messed up his start

In their post-race debrief video, Shovlin mentioned Lewis wanted to sprint on the soft tires, but the team decided to start on the medium tires. This decision impacted his start, as there was less grip on the medium.

Some of that was because instead of starting on the soft tires, which we had expected and what Lewis was prepared for, we decided to start on the medium tires. And that was because we saw that soft had more degradation than expected.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the race REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

Now that medium had a bit less grip. So when he requested the torque for the start, the wheel started to break away. And unfortunately, when you get the wheel spin, the grip of the tire actually drops even further and so you get into a vicious circle.

So, unfortunately, after a solid job in the qualifying, he lost a couple of positions off the line.” explained Shovlin.

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Mercedes trackside engineer hopes for a better Russian GP

Andrew Shovlin mentioned that the team hopes to bounce back strongly at the Russian Grand Prix. He also stated that he hopes the car would be competitive around the Sochi Autodrom.

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“We just need to make sure we put a good weekend together in Russia. It’s a place where the car should be competitive,” said Shovlin.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 14: James Allison, Technical Director at Mercedes GP talks with Mercedes GP Engineer Andrew Shovlin in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2019, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

“We’ve had pretty messy races for quite a long time now, and really, the team needs to not get distracted and just focus on delivering the kind of performance that we know we can, and the performance we need to win these championships.” said the Mercedes trackside engineer.

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Despite a sub-optimal Italian GP, Mercedes are still leading the constructors’ championship. They are still 18 points ahead of their rivals, Red Bull.

Can Mercedes bounce back in Russia? Let us know.

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Devang Chauhan

481 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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