‘No inevitability about a win’ for Lewis Hamilton or George Russell

Mercedes are still searching for their first victory this season.

Mercedes have just six races remaining to claim a much-needed victory, or risk seeing their incredible winning streak dated back to 2012 come to a disappointing end.

It’s been a disastrous year for the Silver Arrows, who are set to lose the Constructors’ crown, which they’ve defended for eight consecutive years.

Red Bull boast a 139-point-lead over Ferrari in the standings, with the Germans a further 35 points behind the Italians.

Whilst they’ve somewhat accepted that they’re on the verge of losing their title, the side will take some consolidation from the season if they can claim just one victory.

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Mercedes have staggeringly won a race every season since 2012; however, with the side yet to win this year, that streak is at severe risk of ending.

The team’s 2022 challenger, the W13, has been woeful.

The car has struggled at low downforce circuits and has quite simply been unable to match Red Bull and Ferrari consistently.

Mercedes are only in the battle for second in the Constructors’ due to Ferrari’s comical errors, which as of late have occurred on a near Grand Prix basis.

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Whilst so much has gone wrong for Mercedes, team principal Toto Wolff thinks this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix “should suit” the Silver Arrows; however, Sky Sports pundit Mark Hughes believes a Mercedes victory is more likely at Suzuka or Austin, not Singapore.

“Although the team now understand the troublesome W13 much better than earlier in the season and know they are able to access very respectable performances from it at the right sort of tracks – those which allow it to be run with a low ride height – they know also the car’s limitations are baked-in and the Red Bull and Ferrari are much more versatile performers across all types of track,” Hughes wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“There is therefore no inevitability about a win for either Lewis Hamilton or George Russell in the remaining races, as they will likely always have to beat two Red Bulls and two Ferraris to do that.

“The relative strength of the W13 is in high-speed, long corners when the track layout is smooth enough to allow the car to be set up very low. Singapore is not such a track but Suzuka may be, as might Austin.

“The car can be competitively quick through slow corners too, but only if the layout of the track does not also include fast corners (as its set-up window is too small to accommodate both). As such, Abu Dhabi and Interlagos will likely not be ideal.”

Sir Lewis Hamilton has his own record to try to maintain, with the seven-time World Champion currently the only driver in the sport’s history to claim a victory in every completed season, a record that dates back to 2007.

Hughes has also pinpointed Mexico has a potentially strong weekend for Mercedes, especially given the fact they’ve gotten over issues which they’ve previously faced at the circuit.

Hughes has sent the Silver Arrows a considerable warning, though, that even if they find a venue they are strong at, they still need to “take on and beat [Max] Verstappen”.

“But Mexico might not be so bad, despite Red Bull’s formidable record at the track,” Hughes added.

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“Last season showed the Mercedes PU no longer struggles in Mexico’s thin air and as such downforce pure and simple will be the dominating factor, especially given that drag is not punished very hard (because of that thin air), thereby partly-neutralising a key Red Bull advantage.

“Mercedes, Hamilton and Russell fans therefore need to be looking for a combination of the sort of sweet spot the W13 was in during the races at Barcelona, Silverstone and Zandvoort, Ferrari continuing to struggle with their tyres and Sergio Perez continuing to struggle with the Red Bull.

“Then all it has to do is take on and beat Verstappen. Stranger things have happened but not very often.”