Ross Brawn has issued a warning to Mercedes after the Russian GP, saying their safety blanket is no longer there.
Mercedes took victory at the Russian GP when Lewis Hamilton crossed the line nearly a minute ahead of the next racer. Unfortunately for them, that next racer was Max Verstappen, who was the worst-case scenario for their weekend at Sochi. After everything they threw at him and Red Bull, Verstappen taking P2 means the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen is far from satisfactory.
In his column on the official F1 website, Brawn issued a warning to Mercedes, saying they can no longer afford to be laid-back in their approach.
“They had years where it was Nico (Rosberg) or Lewis, as there was no one to pick up the pieces if they didn’t deliver,” Brawn wrote.
“Mercedes had that cushion if they messed up. Now there is no cushion. Max is putting up a massive challenge for championship, he was fantastic on Sunday.
“He delivered a masterclass in damage limitation to recover to second from last, and while he lost the championship lead, he’s only two points behind Lewis now.”
Experience to be the decider
Brawn predicted that Verstappen’s experience in F1 saw him deal with the tricky conditions in Russia when a lot of drivers slipped.
“We saw this last year in Turkey, where conditions were tricky, that experience counted and the same was the case in Russia,” Brawn said.
“The likes of Lewis and Max came through and bagged the top places and Lando’s inexperience showed a bit. But he will make a better decision next time he’s in that scenario.
“The others had been in that situation, and they could call on that experience. Fernando (Alonso) was at his brilliant best again – and Kimi showed that he can still make his experience count and get the job done,” Brawn concluded.