The Mercedes F1 Team will be hoping to take their pre-summer momentum into the second half of the season, as the Silver Arrows continue their quest to claim that elusive victory.
After an incredibly challenging first half of the season, Mercedes have managed to get on top of their porpoising problems at last, meaning they can finally turn their attention to the W13’s performance, rather than its safety.
It’s been a difficult viewing for the German team at times this season, after Sir Lewis Hamilton’s visible spinal agony at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Since Baku, the team seem to have turned a much-needed corner, with Hamilton currently on a run of five consecutive podium finishes, and with George Russell having been on the podium at the last two.
From absolute nowhere, Mercedes are in the battle for second in the Constructors’ Championship, something which has largely happened due to their impeccable reliability.
Mercedes have suffered just the one DNF this season, which came when Russell was caught up in Guanyu Zhou’s opening corner crash at the British Grand Prix.
Reliability-wise, nobody has been on the same level as Mercedes, who have proven to have the most reliable car on the grid.
Victory is the only thing missing, with both titles out of the question for this season.
Mercedes have won at least one race every year since 2012, a run that is at serious risk of coming to an end.
Team principal Toto Wolff doesn’t see his side as victory contenders yet but admitted that his team are “getting closer”.
“We headed into the break off the back of a strong run of races and our biggest race weekend points score so far this year, in Hungary,” Wolff said ahead of the race at Spa-Francorchamps.
“While we’re still not quite in the fight for victories, we’re getting closer, so we need to keep the momentum going and the pressure on.”
The first half of the season has been “relentless” for Mercedes, with the FIA summer shutdown being highly welcomed amongst staff at the Brackley-based team.
Wolff recognises the importance of time off, especially during a year as demanding as 2022.
“The shutdown is an important time for the team to take some time off, recharge and spend time with their families, whose support throughout the year is invaluable,” the team boss continued.
“There are few opportunities to do so during the season and the development race is relentless, so the break has been well deserved for everyone in the team.”
The championship restarts this weekend with the legendary Belgian Grand Prix, a track Mercedes have looked imperious on in recent years.
It’s also a historic weekend for the team, who’ll be running a special livery to celebrate 55 years of Mercedes-AMG; however, the team will probably be hoping this weekend goes better than the last time they used a special livery!
Wolff is excited to celebrate the anniversary at a track that needs “no introduction”.
“Spa-Francorchamps needs no introduction,” Wolff said.
“A classic track with an old-school feel, the scene of many iconic moments in F1 history and an incredible challenge for both the car and drivers.
“We’re excited to be back there, hopefully we can put on an awesome show this year for all the fans in Belgium, and we’ll also be celebrating 55 years of Mercedes-AMG too, with some fun activities.
“We’re set for an intense second half of the season, with nine more opportunities to find improvements, make progress and hopefully challenge Red Bull and Ferrari for wins,” he added.