Mercedes: Ferrari have lost straight-line advantage
Mercedes technical director James Allison says Ferrari no longer have the speed advantage they had built up after missing out on back-to-back pole positions.
An engine upgrade introduced after the summer break helped the Scuderia take six straight poles between Belgium and Mexico.
However, they have been beaten on Saturday in the United States and Brazil, with engine-related Technical Directives issued by the FIA before both races as rivals look to get to the bottom of Ferrari's power.
"Probably the only thing that you could stand back from a distance and say is that it's two races on the trot where it hasn't been pole position for a Ferrari. And they sort of had a reasonably comfortable margin.
"So it's an interesting thing, but not anything you could draw any solid conclusions from.
Allison rejected the notion that Verstappen's pole position was a complete shock.
"Max has looked quick all weekend and it's not the first time this year that Max has been the quickest car," he said.
"So it would be wrong to say this is a complete bolt from the blue.
"That's a very good car and an extremely good driver so they did a better job than we did and deserved pole position."
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