Mercedes claim to have a list of problems that they must overcome if they are to return to winning ways at the Russian Grand Prix. The drivers’ world championship race continues to come down to fine margins, with a collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last time out at Monza maintaining the Dutchman’s narrow lead at the top.
Surprisingly, the Silver Arrows have won only one of their past 10 races, with that victory coming at Silverstone when Verstappen crashed out on lap one.
Contrarily, Verstappen has won six of the last 10, although he can only boast a five-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.
Last time out, the pair collided after Hamilton came out of the pits which left both of them pointless at Monza.
Thanks to the upturn in performances of Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas, including a podium finish in Italy after starting from the back of the grid, Mercedes still enjoy a slim lead over Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.
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However, Mercedes trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, knows they still have work to do if they are to secure an unprecedented eighth Constructors’ title in a row.
“We’ve got a list of problems that we need to get stuck into, areas we can improve, possibilities for development,” he said.
“Those are all pretty busy areas and then also we’ve got to look ahead to that next race in Russia.
“We are reviewing the simulations there, that’s also going to be a flyaway race, so we are going through which parts we are going to need on the ground there in Russia to race with.
One thing they will be keen to avoid, however, is a toe-to-toe encounter between Hamilton and Verstappen.
More often than not, one or both of the pair have lost out when coming up directly against each other in recent races, as neither championship contender is willing to back down from the fight.
A policy of avoidance could thus be wise for the Silver Arrows and Red Bull if both teams are to leave Russia with points next time out, although such tactics may yet prove impossible.