Merc tech boss: Ferrari pace drop ‘interesting’

They are definitely NOT “drawing any solid conclusions”, but Mercedes technical director James Allison admits Ferrari’s drop in pace in recent races is “interesting”.

Ferrari had a purple patch in qualy after the summer break as they started in pole position in six consecutive races, although their Mexican P1 was down to Max Verstappen getting a grid penalty.

However, they have dropped off the pace in the last two races with Valtteri Bottas starting on pole in the United States and Verstappen getting P1 in Brazil.

Their change in fortune also coincided with the FIA issuing a Technical Directive regarding fuel flow, which, according to some, gave them a power boost.

Verstappen went as far as saying “you get that when you stop cheating” after the race in Texas.

Merc’s Allison was asked by Motorsport.com about Ferrari’s drop in qualy pace and he replied: “I think they were still pretty useful on the straights. But not quite as marked as it was [Friday].

“That could be all sorts of things. We all run different power modes on a Friday.

“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.”

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Rosberg questions Hamilton’s five-second penalty

Nico Rosberg has questioned the decision to give Lewis Hamilton a five-second penalty when Alex Albon “left the door open” for him in Brazil.

The stewards stripped away Hamilton’s podium finish at Interlagos after his late tangle with Albon, who saw his first podium chance slip through his fingers, while Hamilton dropped to P7 as a result.

Hamilton “massively apologised” to Albon after the race, but his former team-mate reckons that a penalty was perhaps a bit too harsh given the fact that the Red Bull pretty much gave Hamilton an open invitation to pass.

“Of course, Lewis was more at fault,” Rosberg said via his YouTube channel.

“Albon was less at fault, but he left the door open completely for Lewis to dive in.

“Lewis did get quite far in there, but I don’t know if it was worth a five-second penalty. With the way things have been going this year, maybe I would have preferred no penalty because Albon has some fault as well. It is not 1oo per cent Lewis.

“Albon left the door open and he should have left a bit of space. There is no reason why you can’t leave a little space.

“Albon said he wasn’t expecting Lewis to dive down there and wasn’t looking, but that’s not a valid excuse.

“It would have been nice, maybe, not to have a penalty there to really free up the racing and let the drivers sort these things out themselves.”

Rosberg has also had his say on the latest Ferrari clash between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, where he feels Vettel was more at fault for the incident than his team-mate.

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