Mercedes in ‘much better place’ on final test day after overnight tweaks on W14

Thomas Maher
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton during Bahrain testing, Sakhir, February 2023.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during Bahrain testing, Sakhir, February 2023.

Mercedes’ overnight engineering work on their W14 on Friday appears to have paid off, with the team hailing ‘progress made’ on Saturday.

Lewis Hamilton finished the final day of the Bahrain test in second place, three-tenths down on the pace-setter Max Verstappen – his best time being set on the C5 compound.

Mercedes appeared to be somewhat mystified by their performance level on Friday evening, having encountered a mysterious downforce loss across the front axle of their W14.

This led to a late night for the engineers as they worked to identify and address the issues that saw George Russell finish as the fastest Mercedes driver – down in 13th and two seconds away from the front.

This work appears to have paid off, with the W14 visibly more comfortable on track as both Hamilton and Russell shared driving duties on Saturday.

Andrew Shovlin: Today has given us a clearer picture

“A fair bit of work took place overnight to find some refinements to the car specification and recover our direction on the setup,” Mercedes’ head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin revealed after the test.

“We do seem to have made progress; both drivers felt the car was in a much better place across the range of conditions today and the balance is closer to what they require on single lap and long run.

“It’s clear that we still have work to do on car pace but today has given us a much more coherent picture of where we need to focus our efforts. We’ll be using the time ahead of next weekend to go through the data we’ve collected, and aim to extract a bit more lap time.”

George Russell: Mercedes W14 in a ‘better window’ at end of test

Both Russell and Hamilton opened up on the handling of the W14 after climbing out after the final day – the two British drivers having shared driving duties on Saturday.

“We had a much more positive day today,” Russell said.

“We took a step forward and made progress with the issues we faced yesterday. I believe we have improved the car over the course of testing and got the W14 in a much better window today. There is still plenty of work to do but we’re in better shape for next week with more to come.”

Lewis Hamilton praised his team for their hard work in locking more of the W14’s potential across the three days.

“It has been an interesting few days here in Bahrain,” he said.

“There has been a lot of discovery and the whole team has approached it with the same mentality, working hard, not being complacent and staying focused. We’re not quite where we want to be but it’s a good platform to start from. We don’t know where we will be next week, but we will stay positive and continue to push to the maximum.”

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