Mercedes reveal Lewis Hamilton and George Russell conversation about W15 wing upgrade

Henry Valantine
Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin confirmed a conversation between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell saw the latter given the team’s single upgraded front wing in Monaco over the weekend.

Shovlin clarified Hamilton “made that decision quite simple for us” after the drivers spoke, but the decision to only bring one wing came about as a result of the drivers themselves wanting to see upgrades arrive at the circuit as quickly as possible.

Mercedes clarify arrival of one new front wing in Monaco

Russell out-qualified Hamilton on Saturday in Monte Carlo, which turned into a P5 finish compared to P7 for the seven-time World Champion as the entire top 10 finished in the exact same order as they started in the Monaco Grand Prix – a Formula 1 first.

But with Mercedes looking to improve at every opportunity this season, Shovlin revealed the drivers asked for upgrades to be brought whenever possible, even if it means only one of each new part is available at a race weekend moving forward.

“We are looking to have race quantities of that wing in Montreal and normally you would say race quantities is at least three because you have got one for each car and then you have got a spare available should anything happen,” Shovlin explained in Mercedes’ post-Monaco debrief.

“We do not make three in one go. We make the first, then the second, then the third.

“An upshot of that was that we had one that we could bring to Monaco and have it ready for Friday to do the weekend.

“A while ago, the drivers asked why we always wait until we have got a full set? Why not just let one of us run it?

“We agreed with them that given the situation with the team in terms of performance, we need to improve, and we need to learn.

“It is quite good to have different specs on the car to do that.

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“We did agree with the drivers that where we are now, we will be happy to bring one to the track and they were both happy with that.

“The difficult question was how do we decide who was going to run it? But Lewis said, if we are going to start doing this where we have not got enough parts, let George run it in Monaco, there will be races in the future where we have a single update and of course we just alternate from here on in. But Lewis made that decision quite simple for us.”

But after the upgrade was run for the weekend, Mercedes believe the upgrade was a success, Shovlin calling it a “step in the right direction” based on Russell’s feedback, with Hamilton set to receive the part in Canada.

“There is a reason teams do not normally bring update kits to Monaco, which is the very low speed nature of the circuit,” Shovlin said.

“The fact it is so busy, the short straights, it is very hard to actually evaluate anything.

“All the data we have seen though, says that it was delivering performance, it was bringing a benefit in terms of how the car was feeling.

“George was happy with that, and he could feel that it was a step in the right direction.

“We are happy with what we have seen to date, but we will learn more in Montreal and then particularly when you get to a track like Barcelona with a wider corner speed range, you can really start to learn about it there.”

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