Mercedes W13 to wear Pride Star for next three rounds

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes prepare to send Lewis Hamilton out. Spain, May 2022.

Starting from Baku, a rainbow star will take its place on the Mercedes W13 challengers to celebrate Pride Month.

June marks Pride Month, an initiative designed to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.

And the Mercedes Formula 1 team will get involved by running the ‘Mercedes-Benz Pride Star’ on the nose of the W13s driven by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

This will start at the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix, continuing for the Canadian and British grands prix.

In addition, Hamilton and Russell will also wear the Pride Star on their helmets across those three races.

Baku City Circuit overview. Azerbaijan Grand Prix June 2021.

“As part of our Accelerate 25 programme, displaying the Pride star represents a visual expression of our commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive team,” read a statement from the Mercedes team.

“We firmly believe that promoting a culture in which our team members can freely express their personality and identity will result in a stronger and more performant team.”

Mercedes head into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix hoping to get back on an upward trajectory, Monaco having put a stop to the momentum which had been built.

The Silver Arrows were far closer to the leading pace from Red Bull and Ferrari at the Spanish Grand Prix, but Monaco brought a return to fighting at the front of the midfield.

Russell is hopeful though that the six-tenth deficit seen in Monaco can be halved at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, held at the Baku City Circuit.

“It definitely will be more suited, but I don’t think it’s going to transform our finishing position,” he told Channel 4.

“At the moment, around Monaco we were six tenths behind, and into Baku we will probably be three tenths behind the front runners we hope, for the best case.”

Hamilton meanwhile was left “praying” for a far smoother ride in the W13 in Baku compared to what he experienced at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described Monaco as “valuable learning”, so ahead of Baku, the team has been working hard to turn the lessons of Spain and Monaco into progress.

“We head to Baku refreshed after a hectic Monaco weekend full of red flags, delays and changeable weather,” Wolff said. “We scored solid points, but more was possible over the weekend, and we need to be maximising every opportunity we can to stay in the fight.

“As in Barcelona, the slow-speed corners of Monaco presented the W13 a tough challenge but also provided us with valuable learning. With another street circuit in Baku up next, the team has been working flat-out to analyse those two races and identify the areas we can innovate to push us forward.

“Baku often produces some fun and crazy track action, and the layout generates good racing opportunities. So, let’s see if it lives up to its reputation this weekend.”

Mercedes have tasted success before in Azerbaijan, winning the 2019 and 2018 Azerbaijan GPs, while the team also won here in 2016 in what was Formula 1’s first visit to the venue, at that stage hosting the European Grand Prix.

Hamilton had a chance to win the Azerbaijan GP in 2021, but dropped from P2 to last after accidentally selecting the wrong brake mode and going straight on at Turn 1, instead of taking the lead from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez as he had intended to do.

 

Mercedes unlikely to be ‘transformed’ in Baku

While Mercedes driver George Russell feels they'll be able to have a better weekend than the one in Monaco, it still may not be enough to challenge for the win.