George Russell has “total faith and confidence” that “somewhere” in his Mercedes W13 there is a fast car lurking.
This year’s championship has not gone to plan for Mercedes, the Brackley squad yet to reach the podium in a race in which both the two Ferraris and two Red Bulls have finished.
In fact for both of their podiums, Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain and Russell in Australia, they were elevated into the top three through a late-race retirement from Red Bull.
Battling to resolve the W13’s ‘porpoising’ problems, Mercedes are having to give up downforce in order to at least minimise them. But with lost downforce comes lost pace.
There was a glimmer of hope in Friday’s practice for the Miami Grand Prix when Russell topped the timesheet with Hamilton fourth fastest.
But as the weekend progressed, Mercedes’ pace fell away and they had to settle for a double points haul in the grand prix.
Russell, though, firmly believes there is speed in his W13 – the team just need to find the “killer key” to unlock it.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 15, 2022
“We showed [on Friday in Miami] we have a fast car, there is a fast car there,” the 24-year-old said as per The Express. “I have total faith and confidence it is in there somewhere.
“We just need to understand how to unlock it.
“I think we can find chunks and chunks of lap time if we can just find that killer key to get it in that perfect spot.
“I’m not sure if that will be the next race but the guys are working day and night back at the factory and we all believe we can.
“We have to stick to our guns, keep pushing down this direction. It will be a number of races before we say we have to go a different way, but I believe in them.”
Mercedes have scored just 95 points so far this season, leaving the Brackley squad 62 behind championship leaders Ferrari.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ motorsport boss, hopes the solutions the team trialled in Miami will pay off at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
“The car showed flashes of its true potential,” he said. “We continued experimenting with set-up, fitted some new components and that’s provided us with answers and indications of which direction to go in.
“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 are hopeful we will make another step forward.”
It’s decision time for Mercedes in Spain
Mercedes have had a tough start and, with upgrades due, the time has come to see if they can claw back any pace.