Mercedes thought their performance in the Spanish Grand Prix showed improvement after a tough beginning of the 2022 Formula One season. Nevertheless, the squad has described how they were faced such a number of new problems following the competition.
After reaching their first “peak” of the season in the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes has revealed how they continued to experience problems with their car.
The team’s 2022 season got off to a rough start as their W13 began porpoising, which prevented them from keeping up with competitors Red Bull and Ferrari in terms of speed.
At the sixth race of the year, which was held in Barcelona and featured finishes by George Russell in P3 and Lewis Hamilton in P5, there appeared to be signs of improvement.
However, this improvement did not appear to continue for very long as more difficult weekends followed, including those in Monaco and Azerbaijan.
In a year-end film published by the team, Mike Elliott, Technical Director at Mercedes, described the problems the Silver Arrows had after Spain.
Mercedes struggled after Barcelona’s “high”
“Because we sort of got through Barcelona, [we] had the sort of the high of Barcelona, a feeling that we’d got good performance,” Elliott explained.
“We then saw over the next few races other issues that were coming in the car, [such as] issues with the way we were trying to run the car close to the ground.
“It took us a while to get on top of that, not because we couldn’t understand it, but it actually takes quite a long time to change these cars around that understanding and deliver the performance.”
Nevertheless, Elliott remembers that the team was capable of making tiny improvements during the season.
“Each of the packages we brought moved us a small step in the right direction and then another small step in the right direction,” he said.
“By Austin, we’d got to a car that, for me, wasn’t beating Red Bull, but at least put us in a sensible position, in a position where we could say that our development had moved us in the right direction, and [it had given] us some confidence with what we were doing for the future.”
Wolff considers the “trial and error” of 2022
Toto Wolff, team boss, confirms that the races after the Spanish Grand Prix included some experiment for the squad in their attempts to progress.
“Barcelona came along [and] we had a solid weekend,” Wolff commented.
“I think [on] race pace, we were pretty good. For me, it seemed that the rest of the races until Budapest [were] really a trial and error. It was trying to correlate what we didn’t see in the data with what was happening on track.
“Then, obviously, we finished the first part of the season before the summer break really strong, with a pole position [for] George [at the Hungarian Grand Prix] and, if I remember correctly, it was a good race.”
Russell won the year’s second-to-last race in Brazil, giving Mercedes their lone triumph of the 2022 season.
In the World Championship rankings, Russell and Hamilton finished the season in positions four and six, respectively, while Mercedes finished third in the Constructors’ Championship.
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F1, F1 2022, FIA, Formula 1, Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, George Russell, Toto Wolff