Mercedes have switched out their power units for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix as they look to maximise their performance having also made significant upgrades to the car.
Mercedes arrived in Barcelona with a raft of upgrades that included alteration to the floor and wings in a “high-load” setup that aims to thrive in the corners.
The result was a reduction in the level of “porpoising” they are suffering as a result of the ground effect aerodynamics – particularly impressive given how bumpy the track surface is in Montmelo.
George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton’s pace looked a lot more consistent on Friday than we have seen throughout much of the year so far, and ended FP1 fourth and sixth respectively.
Both drivers then broke into the top three in FP2, and the 108 laps set overall was a telling factor, as the Brackley-based side finally looked settled during the first two practice sessions.
Hamilton was exuberant in his assessment of the team’s performance on Friday, affirming that there is less bouncing and even more pace to find through the rest of the weekend.
“Positive!” he exclaimed after FP2.
“[I’m] super happy with the progress so big, big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory for not giving up and continuing so push.
“We’re not the quickest yet but we’re on our way. It’s the first time we’ve driven down the straight without bouncing.
“We still have some bouncing, but it’s way better so yeah [we’re] starting to eke into a bit of the potential in our car.
“It’s still tough out there with the car but it’s much nicer than it’s been before so yeah [I’m] really grateful for these upgrades.
“It’s just trying to fine tune them into the next session so overnight, lots of data to go over and try to position the car.
“I think we can get it into an even better place for tomorrow, so hopefully we can tackle the heels of the guys up ahead.”
Russell was a little more circumspect having topped the second practice session in Miami and fallen backwards from there on in, but he certainly feels a difference in the car this weekend.
“I don’t know to be honest because in Miami we were quickest on Friday and here we’re second,” he explained.
“Let’s see, the car’s definitely reacting differently, we’ve got different limitations this time.
“We definitely don’t have the porpoising on the straight which is good but we’re still experiencing a little bit here and there in the corners, which ultimately you need to dial it out through the corners.
“Red Bull still look very, very strong; they look the team to be reckoned with at the moment and we need to go through the data.”
Mercedes will be aiming to add to their tally of two podiums this weekend and finally join the battle for victories with Red Bull and Ferrari.