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Mercedes agree with Verstappen ahead of Brazil showdown

Mercedes agree with Verstappen ahead of Brazil showdown

Mercedes agree with Verstappen ahead of Brazil showdown

Mercedes agree with Verstappen ahead of Brazil showdown

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes Max Verstappen is correct in his assumption the Silver Arrows should be closer to Red Bull in Brazil this weekend.

Verstappen delivered a masterclass performance in Mexico on Sunday to open up a 19-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the battle for this year's F1 title.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez played to the strengths of the RB16B and its Honda power unit at high altitude, with many observers expecting Interlagos to also play into Red Bull's hands.

Verstappen, however, was more circumspect in his assessment of the São Paulo GP, claiming that while Mexico "has always been a really good track for us", he added that "I expect Brazil not to be like it was here".

When put to Shovlin that Verstappen is expecting it to be closer, he replied: "Yeah, there are reasons why we would expect it to be closer.

"The thing is, what we like to spend our time doing is worrying about things that might go wrong and catch us out.

"It may well be [it is closer] but it is so unpredictable at the moment. You look at qualifying, and a single lap can be more variable than the race pace.

"But we don't need to go back far and we clearly had the race-dominant car through the weekend in Turkey, I think in Sochi as well.

"Within the remaining four circuits there will be those that suit us as well so we will keep trying everything we can to win the championships."

Shovlin is expecting the vagaries in the São Paulo weather to come into the equation, with hot sunshine to favour Red Bull, while cloudier, potentially wetter climes to suit Mercedes.

Shovlin is at least hoping Red Bull's sizeable rear wing, which caused the team issues in Mexico, will be less of a differentiator for although Interlagos is again at altitude, it is only a third as high as Mexico City.

Assessing the forthcoming weekend overall, he added: "It depends a bit on the weather there. The weather inherently is very unstable.

"You can have a 50-degree track one day and a washout the next. If it is a hot circuit, that is probably going to move it in their direction. A bit of cloud cover may well suit us.

"One of the advantages they had [in Mexico] is they were able to go up a step on downforce from the rear wing they normally run to their max-downforce wing where, actually for us, that is the wing we run normally.

"It is just their car seems to have more downforce than us on identical sized wings. I think that played into their favour.

"In Brazil, that is less of an issue but it is very hard to predict and very much as we did [in Mexico], we will look at the weaknesses of our car, work out how we can minimize them. We need to get the tyres in a good window.

"But making predictions over whether you are going to be fast or slow is quite meaningless, it is more about knowing the jobs you need to focus on and do a good job."

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