The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team go into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix on the back of a confusing Miami Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell appeared to have plenty of pace on Friday at Miami but struggled during the remainder of the weekend, leaving Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff scratching his head.
Hamilton in the end finished sixth whereas Russell finished fifth after recovering from a twelfth-place starting position. Ahead of this weekend’s event, Wolff analysed the previous round.
“With the third quickest car underneath us, we extracted the maximum points possible in Miami. Considering George’s start position, it was a great recovery drive, helped by when the Safety Car was deployed. But the timing was unfortunate for Lewis who was strong all weekend and on course to score P5 without the neutralisation of the race. I’ve no doubt that over the course of the season, a little luck will eventually go his way.
“During Friday practice, the car showed flashes of its true potential. We continued experimenting with set-up, fitted some new components and that’s provided us answers and indications of which direction to go in.”
An advantage for Mercedes this weekend is that the official shakedown test took place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in February, meaning that the team already have plenty of data on how to set-up the car at the venue.
“A huge amount of hard work has been going on in the factories to unpick the data from Miami and turn it into improvements for Barcelona. Having run there in winter testing, albeit with a car that has evolved a lot since then, it will be a good place to correlate the information we have on the current car and we’re hopeful that we’ll make another step forward.” continued Wolff.
“The track itself is a good all-rounder, so it really puts every aspect of the car to the test. It’s never been a great track for overtaking so it’ll be interesting to see how these new-shape 2022 F1 cars impact the on-track spectacle in Spain.
With the season almost reaching the quarter mark, Wolff is aware that there is still everything to play for as Mercedes continue to get back to the top-step.
“In basketball terms, we head to Barcelona at the end of the first quarter of the game. We know that once we translate the learnings we’ve made into track performance, there’s still a lot of the game left to play…”