Mercedes confident despite fluctuating performance

Mercedes has seen an improvement in its performance this season but still lags behind where it once was.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton appear unfazed by the noticeable fluctuations in Mercedes’ performance, emphasising their confidence in the team’s evolving setup. 

Despite a challenging start to the season that saw them trailing Ferrari and Aston Martin, Mercedes has made significant strides, largely thanks to a strategic shift in car design.

The initial rounds of the 2023 season were less than ideal for Mercedes, as they found themselves falling behind their competitors, Ferrari and Aston Martin. 

However, the turning point came in Monaco when the team decided to abandon their zero sidepod design, leading to a more competitive edge and enabling them to consistently challenge for podium positions. 

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As a result, they have now leapfrogged Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, holding a comfortable 28-point lead as they approach the final five races of the season.

Russell and Hamilton acknowledge that while Mercedes’ performance might seem uncertain on most race weekends, it often transforms overnight as they fine-tune their setup. 

Friday’s promise doesn’t always translate to success on race day, with Hamilton experiencing two Q2 exits and Russell missing out on Q3 on four occasions this year.

When questioned about their perception of this trend, Russell explained, “It’s just learning and experience. 

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“I think we found ourselves off the pace at the start of this year, a long way behind where we wanted to be. 

“We were trying many different things with the car.

“Now, probably these last five races, the set-up of the car has been relatively much the same every race we go to. 

“We know what the car needs to maximise its performance. 

“I think that helps the consistency we build upon it. 

“That’s also given us a good direction into next year, so I think that’s a big factor of it.”

This adaptability reflects Mercedes’ commitment to fine-tuning their car’s setup, ensuring that they can deliver consistent performance throughout the season. 

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It’s not unusual for Formula 1 teams to experiment with setup direction during practice sessions, and Ferrari, for instance, has devoted time after the summer break to comprehending their car’s setup.

Hamilton, sharing his perspective, stated, “[I have] nothing more to add to that [which George said] to be honest.” 

His concise response underlines the team’s collective focus on refining their strategy and maintaining their competitive edge, demonstrating their confidence in the road ahead.