Mercedes were hoping to keep their onward momentum going after the summer break with their significant upgrade package on Friday. However, the Silver Arrows struggled to find the grip with their new package. Both drivers were over a second behind Max Verstappen’s fastest lap time. Mercedes have brought the biggest performance package this weekend. They have upgraded the front and back wing along with some improvements on the W13 floor. All F1 teams have brought some kind of upgrades for the Belgian GP to continue the development battle in this year’s championship. However, Mercedes were rumored to bring in some major upgrades to win for the first time in 2022.

The Brackley-based outfit brought in a mix of development upgrades and track-specific changes. Mercedes have introduced a Spa-specific rear wing which is expected to provide the right amounts of downforce and drag reduction. The front wing endplates of the W13 have been reprofiled with changes in the flaps to offer more aro-efficient downforce production. Further, the floor fences have been realigned with the changes made towards the back of the floor. The changes will provide a net gain in downforce by reducing the exposed area of the rear floor and improving the flow to the diffuser.

Despite the new upgrade package, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell faced a number of issues in FP1 & FP2. Neither of them could set a competitive enough lap time at the end of Friday’s action. Lewis told after the practice that Mercedes was a long way off compared to Verstappen and Leclerc’s pace. But, Hamilton will have an opportunity to win a race on Sunday due to grid penalties set for Max and Charles.

Shovlin Talks About Mercedes’ Messy Friday

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin admitted that his team had quite a messy day as a result of the rain and a red flag. However, the British engineer revealed that his team got a read of the main problems, which he hoped to sort overnight. Shovlin stated that Mercedes needed to focus on their single-lap performance. Neither of the drivers could get a good feel of the soft compound as they could not find the right temperature window. 

Andrew Shovlin

Andrew further pointed out that they could not learn more about the long run due to the difficult conditions. He shared that the hard tyres were tough to fire up during the cool and damp conditions in FP2. Meanwhile, the mediums worked quite well in FP1. The Briton concluded, “Clearly, there is an opportunity with the number of cars that are taking penalties. But we need to find a bit of pace overnight if we are to capitalize on that.”