Lewis Hamilton and George Russell should thank Mick Schumacher

Mercedes technical director James Allison has praised reserve driver Mick Schumacher for his “brilliant” support behind the scenes.

Mercedes technical director James Allison has praised the “brilliant overnight work” of the team’s engineers and sim driver, Mick Schumacher, for the impressive race pace displayed by the cars at the British Grand Prix. 

Schumacher is currently the team’s reserve driver after being left without a race seat on the grid last year.

Allison acknowledged that the team’s one-lap pace during Friday’s practice sessions before the British Grand Prix was “woeful.” 

However, after extensive preparation led by Schumacher and the team’s engineers, the pace significantly improved.

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In a video posted on the Mercedes YouTube channel, Allison emphasised the growing importance of overnight work in shaping the rhythm of a race weekend. 

He described the weekend of the British Grand Prix as particularly crucial. 

The team had observed a strong race car and consistent pace from both drivers during Friday’s practice, indicating their ability to manage their tires effectively during race stints on Sunday. 

Therefore, they aimed to maintain the setup without making drastic changes that could disrupt the delicate tire usage.

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However, Allison acknowledged that their one-lap pace needed improvement. 

They were far down the timesheets, without any excuses for their lack of speed. 

The challenge overnight was to find a way to optimise the car’s performance for qualifying without altering the fundamental setup. 

To address this, the team used the simulator to work on aspects that they could change within the regulations, such as tire pressures and flap angles.

The engineers, along with Mick Schumacher, worked diligently until 2 am, striving to optimise the car’s preparation for a strong qualifying lap. 

The focus was on the elements allowed to be adjusted between qualifying and the race, ensuring that the fundamental setup remained intact. 

“We had seen on our Friday that we had a really good race car we had good consistent strong pace from both drivers and it looked like we were going to use our tyres well in the race stints on Sunday so we knew that our setup was sort of there are thereabouts and we wouldn’t want to change it too much, because you might sort of upset that delicate usage of the tyres that’s key to getting a good race run,” Allison said.

“However we also knew on Friday that our one lap pace was woeful. 

“We were way down the timesheet not with a bunch of excuses and on with it we were just slow so our challenge overnight was how to find [ace in a car for qualifying without actually really sort of mucking about with the fundamental setup of the car, and that’s what they set to do on Friday night in our simulator.”

Allison applauded the team’s brilliant overnight work, which resulted in the team’s single-lap qualifying pace improving significantly, positioning them well for a competitive grid slot on Saturday and ultimately setting the stage for a strong race on Sunday.

The collaboration between the engineers and Mick Schumacher, along with their commitment to finding the right balance between setup and performance, played a vital role in Mercedes’ success at the British Grand Prix. 

The overnight work and meticulous preparation enabled the team to showcase their race pace and secure a positive outcome.

“The engineers and Mick Schumacher are working late into the night till 2am trying to figure out how to get the best preparation of the car to be in good shape for a qualifying lap for that single push lap without changing the fundamental setup.

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“So only working on the things that you can change – the tyre pressures, the flap angles and so on. 

“The things that you’re allowed to change between qualifying and race, and therefore things that we can do without upsetting the fundamental setup of the car.

“Brilliant overnight work from that team, the result being that our single lap qualifying pace lifted right back up to being in the mix for a decent grid slot on the Saturday which is what set up our ability to have a good race on Sunday.”