Lewis Hamilton has said the W13 is still lacking “everywhere” despite Mercedes bringing two upgrades to the French Grand Prix.
The Mercedes car had been touted as a potential race winner by many ahead of the race at the Circuit Paul Ricard but, despite bringing upgrades to the floor and front corner, the car still looked off the pace in comparison to the Ferrari and Red Bull.
Hamilton sat out FP1 with Nyck de Vries filling his spot before finishing P5 in the second practice session of the day, and was left frustrated at the lack of progress.
Speaking following the session, the seven-time World Champion was asked where the Mercedes car was lacking in terms of performance and replied “just everywhere.”
“It’s just every corner,” he told reporters. “I’m gonna have to dig deep into the data but it just feels like we’re lacking downforce today but otherwise, it’s okay.
“I can only have empathy for the guys that are even further back. I think generally, this generation of car is definitely nowhere near as good as it used to be in terms of grips but it also is the first year of this generation. So I’m sure it’ll get better over the years. But we have work to do.”
Hamilton was also asked were he thought the car would be challenging if qualifying was a few hours after FP2 and maintained they could “be hopefully fighting [for a podium].”
That’s a wrap on FP2! All 👀 on Quali Day tomorrow. See you there team 💪 pic.twitter.com/1GyFjlqBvw
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 22, 2022
“Today we were fourth and fifth,” he said. “So that’s kind of the reason we’ll be fighting for [a podium]. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be on the podium, I think we can still be up there. Just still not as quick as those front guys and a bit further back than we were the last race.”
His team-mate George Russell concurred and said even with the upgrades, the “whole grid just moves forward” at an equal rate.
“I need to look over the data,” he replied when asked if the upgrades had worked. “We think so but everybody keeps on improving the car, keeps on bringing updates and the whole grid just moves forward.
“So even though we’re finding time, our rivals are also finding time so it’s sometimes not quite as simple to see it on the lap chart.”
Russell conceded that Mercedes were “outside shots” for the win but also said “never say never.”
“Outside shots is probably the way to put it,” the 24-year-old said. “We’re probably a little bit further off the pace today than we would have hoped but work to do tonight and back at the factories but never say never.”
Where do Mercedes stand right now?
Mercedes have certainly improved over the past few races, but can they challenge at the front again?