Allison: First GP in charge was miserable mess

Date published: November 20 2019

James Allison: First GP in charge was miserable mess

Stepping into Toto Wolff’s shoes for the Brazilian GP weekend, James Allison admits his first race in charge at Mercedes was a “mess”.

For the first time since 2013, Wolff, Mercedes’ motorsport boss, opted to sit out a grand prix weekend given that the team had already wrapped up both championship titles.

That meant Allison, the team’s technical director, was the most senior person in the garage.

Lewis Hamilton made short work of Sebastian Vettel at the start of the 71-lap race but from there was unable to challenge Max Verstappen.

Red Bull had the answer to everything Mercedes threw at them and then made the better strategy call pitting Verstappen under the first Safety Car, which was out for Valtteri Bottas’ retirement.

Mercedes tried to throw it back at Red Bull at the second Safety Car but instead dropped Hamilton from second to fourth with the Brit tagging Alexander Albon as he tried to recover.

Hamilton would eventually finish P7 after being penalised for that collision.

For Allison it was a “messy” first weekend in charge at Mercedes.

“To be honest I have been doing the same thing I do when I’m here normally, just with a few extra things like this [media session],” he told Autosport.

“But in terms of what I do here normally, which is just engage with the engineers and try to say helpful things here and there through the weekend, it’s been no different.

“I’ve been here as a technical director and not a team principal.

“And Toto has been a team principal off doing other work, instead of here.

“It’s hard to say that I haven’t enjoyed it. I always enjoy coming to the track.

“It’s just been miserable when we make a mess of a race.”

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