Mercedes reveal ‘brilliant’ Mick Schumacher influence which saved their British GP qualy

Jamie Woodhouse
Mick Schumacher, Mercedes, in the paddock. Bahrain March 2023.

Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher walks through the paddock. Bahrain March 2023.

Mercedes technical director James Allison said their one-lap pace was nowhere early in the British GP weekend, until Mick Schumacher stepped in to fix it.

Mercedes driver George Russell had revealed just how alarming the difference was between their qualifying and race pace in the projected data, as while in the race it had them pushing for a podium spot, in qualifying Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton were set to form the penultimate row of the grid.

Thankfully though Mercedes were able to do a lot better than P17 and P18 for their starting spots, with Russell starting P6 and Hamilton P7.

Mick Schumacher and Mercedes engineers save the day

Allison would explain that simulator work has grown in importance over recent years when it comes to getting that idea set-up nailed down, and for that reason Schumacher and his colleagues on the simulator side of the team were working into the early hours  find improvements for that one-lap pace.

And with Schumacher having confirmed on social media that work went on until 2:15am on Saturday morning back at Brackley, it certainly did the trick.

Speaking in Mercedes’ British GP debrief, Allison said: “Over the years, the overnight work that happens on a Friday night preparing for Saturday, that has become more and more of an important factor in the rhythm of your race weekend.

“And this weekend was a particularly important one. We had seen on our Friday that we had a really good race car. We had good, consistent, strong pace from both drivers and it looked like we were going to use our tyres well in the race stints on Sunday.

“So we knew that our setup was sort of there or thereabouts and we wouldn’t want to change it too much, because you might sort of upset that delicate usage of the tyres that’s key to getting a good race run.

“However, we also knew on Friday that our one-lap pace was woeful, we were way down the timesheet, not with a bunch of excuses along with it, we were just slow. recommends

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“So our challenge overnight was how to find pace in a car for qualifying, without actually really sort of mucking about with the fundamental setup of the car.

“And that’s what they set to do on Friday night in our simulator. The engineers and Mick Schumacher working late into the night until 2am trying to figure out how to get the best preparation of the car to be in good shape for a qualifying lap, for that single-push lap without changing the fundamental setup.

“So only working on the sort of things you can change, the tyre pressures, flap angles and so on, the things that you’re allowed to change between qualifying and race and therefore things that we can do without upsetting the fundamental setup of the car.

“Brilliant overnight work from that team and the result being the our single lap qualifying-type pace lifted right back up to being in the mix for a decent grid slot on the Saturday which is what sets up our ability to have a good race on Sunday.”

Hamilton indeed went on to deliver that podium finish for Mercedes, crossing the line P3 behind the familiar race-winning figure of Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris, McLaren having enjoyed a performance surge following the introduction of their upgraded MCL60.

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