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    INSIGHT: Russian Grand Prix: Your Questions Answered Trackside Engineering Direc...

Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin answers your questions about the Russian GP...

Mack @mack11robinson - Instagram

- We heard Lewis mention there were hesitations with his Power Unit. Any concerns? Can we expect an unscheduled engine change at Suzuka?

Andrew Shovlin: "Well, this isn't really a concern. Things like this are normally down to small issues with the mapping of the engine.

"There's certainly no concern about the hardware or whether there will be any issue going forward.

"But, it is an area that we will look at ahead of Suzuka. We are going to be there next week.

"And we will just make sure we get on top of it and can give him a nice, smooth power delivery."

Jan @janniklasl - Instagram

- What went wrong with Hamilton's "overcut"? Why didn't you stop him one lap earlier?

AS: "When Valtteri boxed, Lewis was able to find some pace now that he was in free air, and you saw he was going quite a bit quicker. About 0.6 of a second, he was able to find.

"This is what we thought might help us clear some space, we'd see whether we could even clear Verstappen. Unfortunately, though, with pushing the tyres hard, the UltraSoft started to open up.

"It is not a very strong tyre. So, at the point he was making progress, we then started to suffer that degradation and it's true that we should've come in a lap earlier.

"Ferrari took advantage of that, they brought Vettel in, they were able to undercut us. So, it didn't go to plan, we didn't do what we should've done but it is something we will look at ahead of the next race."

Ben Wardle - Facebook

- Did you think about pitting Lewis first to ward off Vettel or was it always going to be Bottas pitting first?

AS: "Well, we considered most things to be honest. Every lap we are talking about what to do with the cars. Tied in with the previous question, the thing was we didn't know how fast Lewis was going to be able to go when he was in free air.

"We didn't know how many laps the UltraSoft would be able to push for. So, that was one of the reasons that we didn't want to bring him in.

"Because, we knew that he would then be boxed up behind Verstappen, and that would make us vulnerable to the Ferrari.

"So, that was the main or one of the driving factors as to why we thought we would bring Valtteri in first, and also Valtteri had that track position anyway being further up the road.

"So, we could be pretty certain that Valtteri would be ahead of Vettel when they stopped."

Mohammed @mohammedriyaz_28 - Instagram

- How bad was the blistering that Lewis faced in trying to overtake Sebastian?

AS: "It was a bit of a concern, you could see on television there was a line around the middle of the tyre.

"It can be much worse than that, but the issue is, when you push the tyres really hard early in their life, they have got a lot of grip and they have got a lot of rubber.

"That's what makes it so vulnerable to that blistering. The problem is you don't know until much later in the stint when the tyre is worn down, how much of a problem you have actually created.

"That's the issue. So, at the time it would've been a small loss of grip. But, what we were concerned about was later on, it would become a much bigger problem for him and may have made him very vulnerable end of race."

Glenn Dovey @glenndovey - Twitter

- How much of a threat was Seb to Lewis? If both Mercedes couldn't pass Max on his tyres from the start of the race could Seb really have mounted another challenge?

AS: "There are a few things that we weren't certain about. One was how fast Ferrari would be on that Soft tyre.

"What we had seen in the first stint was that it was very, very difficult to build any kind of a gap to them, so we knew that they were quick.

"The other thing that concerned us was that once everyone was behind Verstappen, was this bunching effect. There was nothing that was going to bring Verstappen in.

"He was staying out, he would've benefitted from a Safety Car and we were concerned that all the cars would start to bunch together.

"In that situation it can get a bit messy, Sebastian may well have made a move that could've stuck. So, it's those sorts of things that are very difficult to calculate but certainly something that we were concerned about."

Mathew Booth @Mathew_Booth_ - Twitter

- How did the improvements to the car for this weekend fare? And how much of a performance benefit did they provide?

AS: "Well, yes, they did work actually, we have had a pretty good development programme on this car. But we have got the same issue as every other team.

"We are not only developing the car we are racing today, we are having to develop the car that we are going to race next year.

"That balance is quite difficult to strike, especially when you are in a Championship fight as we are with Ferrari. But, we are not going to say how much it is worth, because that will be giving away too much information.

"But, those developments have been having a good effect. You can see that we have pulled a small qualifying advantage to Ferrari in recent races and we are hoping that we can carry that through to the remaining races this year."

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