Brundle: Paddock ‘confused’ by Mercedes performance

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton from behind sparks on the kerb. Canada June 2022

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton from behind sparks on the kerb. Canada June 2022

From a “disaster” and “s**tbox” of a car to the podium, Martin Brundle says Mercedes are not only confusing the paddock but also themselves.

It is fair to say Mercedes have yet to get on top of their W13 with its zero-pod design, Formula 1’s most dominant team ever with their unprecedented eight successive Constructors’ Championship titles yet to even win a grand prix this season.

A spate of P3s is the best they’ve achieved with Lewis Hamilton bagging his second podium finish at the Canadian Grand Prix.

It was a weekend of two emotions, the Briton declaring on Friday that his car was “getting worse, it’s getting more and more unhappy the more we do to it” as Mercedes experimented with various set-ups.

He added: “Nothing we do to this car seems to work.”

48 hours later the seven-time World Champion was spraying champagne up on the podium having finished the grand prix just eight seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen.

It has been a confusing tale for the paddock, who have no idea what is coming next from Mercedes, but also for Mercedes themselves.

“The Mercedes team are so confusing for everyone at the moment, including themselves,” the former F1 driver told Sky Sports.

“On Friday Lewis declared the car was undriveable, which is indeed exactly how it looked, and in a Sky F1 interview he strongly intimated that it was now about making the best of a bad job for the rest of the long season.

“Team boss Toto Wolff said similar things to me in an interview having described the car as a ‘s***box’ just a week earlier.

“George Russell took a very bold gamble on slicks at the end of the final wet but drying qualifying session, which I suspect he wouldn’t do again. I admire his confidence but two or three parts of the track were still ten minutes away from being ready.

“Then in the race both Mercs were flying along almost on the leading pace. To be realistic, if Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez had had normal qualifying and race performances, and had we not had two virtual and then one actual safety car, it would likely have been a solid fifth and sixth for the Merc boys.

“However, once again there does appear to be a good car under that shrink-wrapped bodywork, and they fancy their chances at Silverstone which is next up.”

Hamilton has called on the team to take less experiments with the car on Fridays, and if they won’t do that to at least hand that job over to his team-mate George Russell.

“I think we’ll be a little bit more cautious on doing too many experiments as it really does hinder you through the weekend, especially if you only have practice one and two in the dry and don’t get a FP3, for example,” he said.


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