After eight years of dominance over all other rival teams in the Championship Standings, Mercedes saw their first fall from grace last year. Owing to the incompetence of their W13, the Stuttgart-based squad could not surpass Ferrari and Red Bull in the rankings, and they ended their run in the F1 2022 season with only one Grand Prix victory because of George Russell. And on top of that, Lewis Hamilton had his first winless season since joining Formula 1 in 2007 as a regular driver for McLaren.
Due to the failures of last year, Toto Wolff repeatedly assured the fans that the Silver Arrows would be back stronger in 2023. But the first race saw Lewis Hamilton struggle to break into the top 5. Going into the Spanish GP, Mercedes had only one podium finish, thanks to Lewis’ masterclass at the Aussie GP. But in Barcelona, Lewis Hamilton snatched a second position on the starting grid in the Qualis, and he retained it at the Main Race too. Meanwhile, George Russell started way below Lewis but slowly preyed on the cars ahead of him to finish in P3 at the Main Race.
Mercedes’ brilliant performance at the Spanish GP has proven that they are working towards a steady improvement. This is great news to the team as they have unveiled some new upgrades lately, and those seem to be working. But according to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, a major chunk of the credit for their results in Spain should go to Mercedes reserve driver Mick Schumacher, who toiled day in and day out for the team’s success.
Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes’ success at Spanish GP came overnight
For every race weekend, the drivers get to participate in some free practice sessions in the days leading up to the Main Race. But when Lewis and George took to the grounds to drive their upgraded W14 at the Circuit dé Barcelona-Catalunya, Lewis Hamilton found, “Friday was a real struggle with the balance, it was way out of the window. It was very hard to drive, very unpredictable.“
But, on Sunday’s Main Race, Lewis and George brought Mercedes their first double podium of the season. Speaking on the improvement that their car made from Friday to Saturday, Lewis said, “We did some great work overnight. We’ve got a great team, with Mick back in the simulator on Friday night, and he did some great work, which helped us get on the right track on Saturday.”
And George Russell seconded his teammate’s opinion, saying, “The team’s done a really, really great job. The work that Mick and the simulator team are doing overnight, they were there well past midnight to help us with the set-up and get it in a good window for the race today.”
Owing to Mercedes’ display of pace at the Spanish GP, their fans are now expecting even better results at the upcoming races. And some have even reckoned that soon, Mercedes will surpass their customer team Aston Martin in the World Championship Standings. It only remains to be seen if the Silver Arrows make these predictions come true, or if they succumb to the pressure of these expectations and falter once again.
Riddhi Mondal is an F1 author at FirstSportz. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport. She is a proud McLaren fan who eagerly awaits the paddock's visit to Spa Francorchamps and hopes to attend the Monaco GP one day. A student of medicine, whenever she's not fawning over Daniel Ricciardo or rooting for Max Verstappen to become the next World Champion, Riddhi's either busy reading thrillers, debating, or playing with her six feline friends.
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