George Russell Mercedes
George Russell Mercedes Source: Daily Express

Mercedes hoped to fix a lot of issues this season that bothered them last year. But things got even more complicated this year. However, even the reigning champions, the Austrian team, are facing a huge performance gap between their two drivers. Similarly, the former champions are trying to figure out why George Russell and Lewis Hamilton had such a different season this year. Albeit, none of them won a single race in 2023.

The stayed winless. However, Russell is wondering why he had almost neck and neck speed with his teammate in the qualifying rounds but not during the final race days. Albeit, neither of the Mercedes drivers was happy with the development of W14 when they came to Abu Dhabi for the final GP of the season. But George Russell displayed an impressive performance in Abu Dhabi.


Mercedes Still In Confusion About Their Car

Lewis Hamilton George Russell Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton George Russell Mercedes Source: GPFans

In the qualifying head-to-head contest, both Hamilton and Russell had split at 11-all. Throughout the season, Russell often seemed as the more dominant driver than Hamilton in the qualifying rounds. But on the race day, things would change upside down. Later, at the Yas Marina Circuit, George Russell mentioned the team had noticed this big difference on the race days. They never had the same pace throughout the year. Moreover, the qualifying records of the Mercedes drivers are almost the same.

However, George Russell wonders how either of them gets six-tenths ahead of each other. Russell thinks the problem is when a driver or a team gets on the back foot, they try to chase and close the gap. In the process, sometimes, they move backward instead of closing the gap naturally. That’s something Russell believes both he and Hamilton are trying to figure out. After qualifying in Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 that he has no answers as he’s still struggling with the balance.

More Questions Came Up Than Getting The Required Answers

Mercedes Toto Wolff Lewis Hamilton George Russell
Mercedes Toto Wolff Lewis Hamilton George Russell Source: BVM Sports

The Silver Arrows reduced the bouncing problem that affected their performance in 2022. However, they have not changed their zero-side pod concept since the start of the 2023 season. They had to wait for the Monaco Grand Prix to introduce new side pods. However, it was already too late, as it seems now. Albeit, the German team kept introducing new upgrades throughout the year to understand and gain more knowledge about the car. Clearly, after the first two races, they realized they don’t have a car to beat the reigning champions, Red Bull.

On the other hand, the Austrian team came up with a car in 2023 that is arguably the greatest F1 car ever. Only time can tell what the Mercedes F1 team has learned from all these. Moreover, Hamilton fans are eager to know if the German team is on their way to developing a car capable of competing for the title. On top of that, Lewis Hamilton is 38, and he signed a two-year extension with Mercedes this year. Now, the question is if Hamilton will get to win the coveted eighth title before turning 40. It seems really unlikely, as Red Bull is dominating on another level.