Mercedes driver George Russell has pinpointed areas for improvement for the Silver Arrows as they look to break free of midfield runners McLaren and Alpine.
Russell qualified sixth in Monaco behind McLaren’s Lando Norris, while a red flag late on meant that Sir Lewis Hamilton had to start down in eighth behind the Alpine of Fernando Alonso.
The 24-year-old managed to clear Norris for fifth in the pit stops in changing conditions, but his team-mate spent most of the afternoon staring at Alonso’s rear wing, and finished where he started.
Norris has previously indicated that Mercedes are one of the quickest in the low speed corners – they looked particularly proficient in Miami – but Russell reckons that the fast turns of Barcelona suited the German side a lot better than the slow ones in Monaco.
“I think we just need to find a bit more downforce,” he told RacingNews365.com.
“We haven’t been awfully competitive in low-speed corners, especially when we look at Barcelona, we were the quickest in the high-speed [corners] and then down the straight, so complete opposite to what Monaco offers.
“We need to find a bit more pace in qualifying. We can’t afford to keep having an Alpine or McLaren jump us, but we’ve still got an enough pace to come back through, just not enough pace to fight with Ferrari and Red Bull just yet.”
Hamilton concurred with his compatriot’s assessment of where Mercedes are weak, and he hopes that the bouncing he suffered in Monaco can soon be smoothed out too.
“I kind of expected it,” he explained.
“We weren’t very good in low-speed [sections] in [the] last race anyway.
“In the race it was okay, but not on a single lap, so we anticipated it would be difficult here.
“But it’s worse than we anticipated because of the bumps, it’s just super-bouncy for us, everywhere, slow, medium and high speed. Very challenging.”
Mercedes head to Baku this weekend looking to break the shackles of McLaren and Alpine, and start getting involved in the podium fight with Red Bull and Ferrari.
They have stood on the podium three times this year, with Hamilton taking third in Bahrain, before Russell achieved the same result in Australia and Spain.