Mercedes brought some serious upgrades at the Frech Grand Prix in an attempt to get closer to the front and compete for a win. However, the Silver Arrows found themselves far behind in terms of pace to the two front-running teams, Red Bull and Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell secured a double podium for Mercedes with a P2 and P3 finish. However, the seven-time world champ finished ten seconds behind the race winner Max Verstappen. The German outfit was nine-tenths off the pace compared to the pole securing time by Charles Leclerc in Paul Ricard.
Meanwhile, Mercedes have been working tirelessly and have certainly progressed over the course of the season. But, they are stuck in no man’s land ahead of the midfield while Red Bull and Ferrari are comfortably ahead of them. Recently, Mercedes strategy director James Vowels revealed that his team is planning on introducing far, far more upgrades during the remaining races of the 2022 championship.
Vowels was asked if Mercedes French GP upgrades, including a modified floor and a revised cooling route for front brakes, helped the W13 perform better. The British engineer responded that upgrades are small yet crucial steps to improve the car. However, the more important point is that the Silver Arrows are planning on introducing far, far more upgrades across the remaining races. James added, “We’re not going to be able in one go to just catch up and be with Ferrari and Red Bull.” He hoped that Mercedes would be able to close the gap further as they have been doing with more upgrades to come.
Vowels Explain Why The W13’s Qualifying & Race Pace Have Differences
Mercedes were nine-tenths of a second behind during the qualifying in France. However, the difference was reduced to six-tenths during the main race. Vowels said Mercedes preferred the performance trade-off as it ensured the car’s competitiveness in the long run. He added that it would be crucial for Hamilton and Russell to be towards the front in qualifying this weekend in Hungaroring. The track in Budapest is tricky as overtaking is quite difficult. Vowels stated that Mercedes have struggled in practices and qualifying with a large gap to the front. McLaren’s Lando Norris outqualifying Russell signified that the Silver Arrows were more in the midfield in terms of qualifying.
James later suggested that Mercedes’ lack of pace in qualifying was not due to its zero sidepod design. He shared that his team did not plan on lacking during qualifying. However, Mercedes would prefer to have the fast car during the main race. Meanwhile, the strategy director added that having a competitive car during the main race provided more opportunities. His team has been able to move forward in a strong position throughout the race.
Mercedes would definitely prefer more pace during qualifying. Vowels suggested that the lack of competitiveness in qualifying could be a problem on tracks like Budapest. Thus, the Briton felt that his team needed to ensure they would be there or thereabouts. And no other teams were between the frontrunners and Mercedes. Vowels concluded, “We need to do a better job than we have been doing to make sure we are qualifying where the car should be, towards the front.”