Mercedes performance continues to bewilder many after the inaugural Miami Grand Prix demonstrated that the W13’s pace is a “plain mystery”.
The German team started the weekend brilliantly, with George Russell even topping the timesheets on Friday at the Miami International Autodrome.
However on Saturday, it was back to the drawing board for the side, with both Russell and Hamilton ending FP3 in the bottom five.
Mercedes’ miseries worsened during qualifying, after the former Williams driver failed to make it out of Q2.
Hamilton on the other hand did well to qualify sixth, but Sunday’s race was another example of just how lost Mercedes are, after Russell superbly brought home a fifth-place finish whilst Hamilton failed to make any progress in sixth.
Russell massively benefited from a late Safety Car in the race, after Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly collided on the exit of Turn 7.
The British driver was able to change from the hard tyres he started the race on and fit a fresh set of mediums, as well as only drop two places.
This meant Russell had superior grip and pace to those around him, which included his team-mate who was on old hards.
Former F1 racer Martin Brundle explained in his Sky Sports column that Russell managed his race well.
“It’s easy to say Russell got lucky with the Safety Car,” said Brundle,
“He had to manage the Hard compound tyres from the start, keep his head when going further backwards a little, build the long-run pace as others started to fade, and then call the shots from the cockpit about staying out and hoping for a Safety Car.”
It wasn’t the first-time this season that Russell benefited from a Safety Car, whereas it also isn’t the first occasion this season where Hamilton hasn’t been lucky.
“Lewis wasn’t lucky with the Safety Car again,” continued Brundle,
“And on his side of the garage there was indecision rather than the usual masterly strategy we’ve become used to these past few years.
“It’s a tough time and eager George, with most of his career still ahead of him, is coping better with the situation than Lewis judging by radio transmissions.”
Mercedes rapid fall from the top of the timesheets on Friday demonstrated just how lost the team, with Brundle going as far as saying it was the Silver Arrows “most concerning weekend”.
“Mercedes were once again the third-best team, but in many ways I think it was their most concerning weekend.
“George Russell was fastest on Friday and struggled for pace thereafter, and the team simply didn’t know why.
“They’ve talked about ‘diva’ cars before, but this one is just a plain mystery with a knife-edge window of set-up.
“There’s a good car in there somewhere, it’s just so well hidden,” he added.