Former Formula 1 driver, Jean Alesi, has praised Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell for their perseverance with a misbehaving W13 this year.
The Silver Arrows went toe-to-toe with Red Bull for the championships for last season as Max Verstappen beat Sir Lewis Hamilton to the drivers’ crown.
Both sides therefore had limited time to prepare for the new technical regulations being introduced this season, but it was the Austrian side who adapted better, establishing themselves as a front-runner along with Ferrari.
Mercedes came into the season with virtually non-existent sidepods that they believed would perform well, but they were not prepared for the surprising extent of the “porpoising” and bouncing problems they were going to face.
This has cost them performance on the straight, and raising the ride height to counteract it has only affected them in the corners, and there have been physical consequences of the contact with the track surface too.
This is the reason for one or two changes that are being brought in as of the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend, which could help them climb back to the front.
Their form has already been picking up lately, with Hamilton and team-mate George Russell scoring eight podiums between them in the last six races.
The seven-time champion has finished second in both of the last two rounds, and that came after a horrible experience at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that saw him finish outside the top 10 for only the second time in nine years.
However, Alesi is not convinced that wins are on the horizon for the Silver Arrows, as he finds a fundamentally flawed car difficult to come back from.
“By experience, when a car is born with problems, you’re not able to fix it,” he told GiveMeSport.
“You can make a compromise, but a compromise in Formula 1 doesn’t work, you know.
“I don’t really believe they are able to be a winning team, winning Grands Prix, before the end of the championship under normal circumstances.”
The Frenchman was pained while watching the Britons struggle to score points, so he is relieved to see their recent improvements, which included a pole position for Russell in Budapest before the summer break.
“To see Lewis driving a car like that was sometimes embarrassing, because Lewis is a seven-time World Champion,” added Alesi.
“But to see his capacity to still improve the car, that was impressive.
“In Hungary, it was fantastic to see George on pole position and Lewis fighting towards the front.”
Hamilton and Russell’s tally of podiums now stands at 11 for the season so far heading into the Belgian Grand Prix.