Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Martin Brundle has insisted that Mercedes still have plenty of work to do in order to improve their results after George Russell was left unable to explain his fluctuating pace over the course of last weekend’s Miami Grand Prix. The Silver Arrows have endured a turbulent start to the new campaign after losing ground to Red Bull and Ferrari when compared to last year and could only manage fifth and sixth at the end of the 57-lap contest in Miami on Sunday.
Mercedes looked quicker than usual in Friday’s practice sessions, with Russell topping FP2 and Lewis Hamilton crossing the line in fourth, but were no match for their Constructors’ Championship rivals in qualifying and over the course of Sunday’s race. Brundle has since insisted that Mercedes will need to solve the ‘mystery’ of their inconsistent pace in order to make the most of their weekends on a regular basis over the coming weeks and months.
“Mercedes were once again the third-best team but in many ways I think it was their most concerning weekend, given that George Russell was fastest on Friday and struggled for pace thereafter and the team simply didn’t know why,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“They’ve talked about ‘diva’ cars before but this one is just a plain mystery with a knife-edge window of set-up. There’s a good car in there somewhere, it’s just so well hidden.”
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Mercedes eventually managed to secure a double-points finish in Miami, with Russell beating Hamilton yet again despite qualifying all the way down in 12th place on Saturday. The latter started the race from sixth but was eventually overtaken by his Mercedes team-mate, who reaped the rewards of the safety car period after a long first stint on hard tyres, during the closing stages of the contest at the sun-soaked Miami International Autodrome.
It remains to be seen whether Mercedes will eventually be able to get on top of their early-season problems in the not-too-distant future, with a number of important upgrades set to be introduced at the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix. Russell admitted after Saturday’s qualifying session in Miami that he was at a loss to explain why Mercedes were unable to find some much-needed consistency as he ran the rule over his own performance against the clock.
“My qualifying lap then was slower than what I did yesterday in FP2,” Russell told Sky Sports F1. “The car felt completely different today, we were struggling with porpoising and we just couldn’t attack any of the corners.
“It is a real shame because there was the potential in there and yesterday we were quick so it has massively gone away from us today and I don’t really know why. It has just been a bit inconsistent to be honest.
“We thought we went pretty conservative with the set up to make sure we avoided any porpoising, but it seemed just as bad as we saw this morning in FP3.”
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