Skip to content

Mercedes could be quicker than Ferrari and Red Bull at 2022 Belgian Grand Prix

Mercedes trackside engineer, Andrew Shovlin, has confirmed that there are more upgrades on the way for the Silver Arrows are their impressive recent form.

The German side are up to 11 podium finishes for the season after Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both made it onto the rostrum at the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend.

There was a slight difference about last weekend though, as all of their previous top three results appeared to stem from misfortune for other teams, rather than raw pace of the eight-time champions.

In Budapest, Russell claimed pole position, while Hamilton might have joined him on the front row had it not been for a DRS failure that saw him start seventh.

Russell held off the threat of Carlos Sainz in the opening stint, before losing the lead to Charles Leclerc when the Ferraris swapped in the pits.

READ: Ex-F1 driver believes Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are ‘the best in the business’

The Scuderia made another glaring mistake with Leclerc’s strategy, losing him the place to Russell, who went on to finish ahead of Sainz in third.

Both Max Verstappen and Hamilton made scintillating comebacks after the Dutchman was forced to start 10th after suffering power difficulties in qualifying.

The reigning champion won the race ahead of the seven-time champion, with Russell coming home third behind them.

It symbolized a marked improvement to the Brackley-based team’s race pace after providing their advancements over one lap on Saturday, so it was a weekend to savor for Mercedes.

“This last [double podium] was particularly satisfying because we weren’t relying on the misfortune of anyone dropping out with a reliability problem,” explained Shovlin, quoted by Formula1.com.

“The car pace was also very good, and it is always nice to have a good race before you go into that period of holiday.

“The most satisfying thing though is to see where the car is in terms of pace now in qualifying and in the race.

“We had a lot of ground to make up from the start of the year, we’ve been working really hard trying to bring bits to every race and it is really satisfying now to see that we are racing with the Ferraris, with the Red Bulls right to the front.”

Mercedes chose to let Verstappen execute the uncercut on Hamilton early on in the race, as stopping for Mediums with the race so young was too big a risk for them.

They were therefore able to focus on extending the 37-year-old’s stints, and this helped him soar up to second on the Softs late on as he passed Sainz and Russell.

Such was the pace of Verstappen on race day that he span at Turn 13 and still won by nearly 10 seconds, so compromising Hamilton’s strategy to fight him would not have been worth it.

“With Max having started on the soft, he had two mediums to go to, to finish the race and that meant he could stop earlier and was always going to be able to do a more effective undercut on Lewis than we could have done to defend ,” Shovlin added.

“So, that’s the main thing on a strategy point of view, we don’t think we missed any opportunities but there were other incidents.

“Max had that spin that cost him very little, had that been more of an issue Lewis could have been in contention at the end.

READ: Max Verstappen explains why he’s happy Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are getting quicker

“Had there been a bit more rain, Lewis was hoping for that to come a bit sooner because his tires were in good condition.

“But overall, we need to make the car a little bit quicker, and we certainly need to make sure that we’ve got the DRS fixed in qualifying.”

A large part of the recent Mercedes success has been down to upgrades brought in to improve an underperforming W13, and they intend to continue in that vein beyond the Belgian Grand Prix after the summer break.

“Well, we’ve got more coming. We are trying to bring some performance to Spa that will hopefully close that gap,” stated Shovlin.

“We haven’t got far to go now, but we’ll keep developing the car for a little while now.

“We’re quite excited though, the last few races have been the most fun we’ve had all year and we are just hoping that we can take that extra step because we definitely want to be winning races in the near future, so we are working hard to try and achieve that.”

Mercedes have closed the gap to second-placed Ferrari to just 30 points in the Constructors’ Standings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.