Final week in Baku, Russell completed 45 seconds behind winner Verstappen and Hamilton was an extra 25secs again. Canada was, little doubt, an enchancment from that however the hole remains to be vital. Hamilton and Russell have solely scored podiums this 12 months (5 of them to this point) when Purple Bull and Ferrari have had some sort of failure or driver error.
Toto Wolff, who has not been one for optimism to this point this season, sounded a (comparatively) optimistic observe after the race on Sunday. “We confirmed some tempo in the present day. Earlier than the Security Automotive got here out on the finish we have been truly faster than Sainz,” he mentioned.
The kind of optimism Mercedes confirmed was not fairly according to what that they had in Barcelona, when it appeared like that they had made a real step in eliminating their porpoising, and thus efficiency. This can be a little totally different.
Mercedes ran their automobile increased this weekend to get rid of the bumps however their tempo didn’t fall off all that a lot, although they’ve tried so many various issues it’s laborious to get a baseline. This routinely reduces the general potential of the automobile via dropping downforce. Maybe this gave their drivers further efficiency via added consolation within the automobile and with the ability to spot their braking zones with ease and with out ache for as soon as.
May Silverstone be even higher?
Silverstone has historically been a Mercedes – and specifically Hamilton – observe, although post-2014 it’s simpler to search out tracks the place they’ve struggled. The British Grand Prix subsequent week offers extra room for hope.
After bumpy Baku, Silverstone would have been earmarked as a observe the place Mercedes are much less prone to wrestle with their bouncing points. Although it has lengthy high-speed corners like Azerbaijan, the Northamptonshire circuit is among the smoothest on the calendar, a attribute it shares with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, by far the group’s strongest race.
Because of this they need to be capable of run their automobile at a decrease journey top and unlock efficiency. After the race, Toto Wolff implied that Mercedes are maybe now doing what Gary Anderson steered to Telegraph Sport final week and looking for efficiency with their automobile at a better journey top (and softer suspension), reasonably than desperately attempting to unravel their issues while working the automobile as little as doable, at even the expense of their drivers’ our bodies. That is optimistic information for his or her try and get again on the entrance.
Up to now it has appeared that the group has tried to get again into competition in a single step, reasonably than incrementally. This delivered little. On condition that there are nonetheless 13 races left in 2022 and subsequent 12 months’s automobiles shouldn’t be radically totally different (pending any porpoising-related regulation adjustments) then the sluggish and regular method may work.