Feature Image Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media

Mercedes turn a corner in their quest for better performance?

Strong performances on Friday provide optimism for drivers

Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast

Last updated:
George Russell on track during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix (Image Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media )

Mercedes may have turned a corner in their quest for better performance. After a tough start to the season, the team enjoyed competitive Friday practice sessions. The Silver Arrows brought a vast upgrade package to Barcelona to close the gap on leaders Red Bull and Ferrari. 

The second practice session was particularly fruitful, with  Russell finishing P2. 0.117s away from Charles Leclerc. Russell was cautious when speaking to the media however, the disappointment from Miami still fresh in his memory.  The porpoising appears to have significantly reduced, but is still an issue “here and there through the corners”. Russell also believes the team has closed the performance gap to Red Bull: 

 

“In Miami we were quickest on Friday, here we’re second but the car is definitely reacting differently. We don’t have the porpoising on the straights which is great but we’re still experiencing it here and there through the corners which ultimately we need to dial out. Red Bull still look very strong and the team to be reckoned with at the moment. I see no reason why we can’t be as close, if not a little closer, to the front throughout the weekend”

The Briton was also cautious in commenting on the overall pace of the W13 at Barcelona. The difference in power modes leaves the team uncertain of just how much the gap to Red Bull has reduced. Russell revealed that the main focus for the team ahead of qualifying is tyre degradation: 

“With the differences in power modes it is difficult to tell where we are on true pace, Ferrari and Red Bull looked to be in their lowest power modes. Degradation was massive for everyone and that’s going to be make-or-break in the race on Sunday so  that’ll be our focus tonight” 

Teammate Lewis Hamilton was more upbeat about the performance of the W13. He finished P2 in P3, 0.204s away from Leclerc. Admitting the car still lacks pace, the seven-time World Champion believes the team has turned a corner. With the car no longer suffering from extreme porpoising, Hamilton believes the potential of the W13 can now be extracted: 

“I’m super happy with the progress and a massive thank you to the team back at the factory for all the hard work, refusing to give up and continuing to push. We’re not the quickest yet but I think we’re on our way. It’s the first time we’ve driven down the straight without bouncing; we still have some, but it’s way better. We’re starting to eke into the potential of the car. It remains tough out there but much
nicer to drive than it has been before”

The seven-time World Champion was happy with the upgrade package for the W13. Hoping to “tap on the heels of the guys in front”, Hamilton said Mercedes have to analyse the data in detail:   

“We’ve brought a few upgrades and we now need to fine tune them. We have a lot of data to go through to position the car, I think we can get it into an even better place for tomorrow to hopefully tap on the heels of the guys in front”

Hamilton is also wary of the severe degradation seen during practice at Barcelona, predicting excessive tyre management in Sunday’s race:   

 “Degradation is going to be key here, with these tyres you can’t attack, attack, attack – they require a lot of management in these  temperatures”

 

Feature Image Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Back to the top