Toto Wolff acknowledged Mercedes are still weaker compared to their rivals on one-lap pace and early on in races, and are still working on a solution.
Pre-weekend chatter in France was that Paul Ricard would suit the characteristics of Mercedes well, with its flat track surface and medium-high speed corners having played to the W13’s strengths before.
But Lewis Hamilton’s nine-tenth gap to Charles Leclerc in qualifying suggests that the team are still yet to find their potential on a single lap, and while they have generally been closer to Ferrari and Red Bull in race trim, they are still not quick enough yet to challenge them over a race distance.
Hamilton and George Russell combined to take the team’s first double podium finish of the season in France however, making the most of Leclerc’s retirement to take their best result of the year so far.
Hamilton admitted that the top two teams remain “in their own league” now the first half of the season has passed, but the Mercedes team principal is keen to ensure they keep building on the progress they have made this year, and he is “confident” Mercedes will get to where they want to be.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 27, 2022
“It was encouraging to score such a big haul of points in France and maximise the situation on Sunday but we know there is much work still to do. The gap to the leaders on a single lap persists and we struggle more at the start of stints,” Wolff explained ahead of the weekend.
“We need to keep unlocking more performance, and by maintaining the culture, mindset and spirit that has spurred on all the hard work at the factories, I’m confident we will.
“Our reliability was good once again, and both Lewis and George were on strong form, to deliver a double podium.
“Now we’re switching focus to Hungary and a very different circuit; tight, twisty and bumpy, almost the opposite of where we just were.
“It’s hard to predict how we will fare because our expectations this year haven’t always matched up to reality, in terms of which tracks suit the W13.
“Nevertheless, we’ll give it our all and we always look forward to being in Budapest and the warm welcome we receive from the fans. It also marks our 250th Grand Prix with our title partners, PETRONAS, which is a brilliant milestone.”
Where do Mercedes go from here?
Mercedes seem to still be as far away from the front as they were at the start of the year in qualifying, so what happens now for them?