Mercedes young gun George Russell waited a long time to earn a podium finish this season. He even had DNF this season which cost him dearly. But the 25-year-old hung on as he finished at P3 in the Spanish Grand Prix. Clearly, the good news from the team’s perspective is that Mercedes had their first double podium finish in Spain. Hence, the team needed to add side pods on the car for the current season after learning from their mistakes in 2022.
But Mercedes did not do that even though they had plans before to do so. Their plans changed after George Russell won his maiden Grand Prix in the Brazilian GP. But once again, soon after the season started, Mercedes felt the need for new upgrades. Later, they made plans to implement the modifications in Imola, Italy. But the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix did not take place due to a terrible Imola flood. Hence, Mercedes decided to implement the new upgrades in Monaco. It was not the ideal place to test, but the results did not disappoint the German team. And they came to full effect in Barcelona when both the drivers secured a 2-3 finish at the end of the Grand Prix race.
George Russell Feels The Floor Is The Key, Not The Sidepods
In the Spanish Grand Prix, the Mercedes did exceedingly well. And looks like fans and experts believe the reason for success is because of the new upgrades, especially the side pods. But George Russell thinks it is not because of the side pods. The 25-year-old George Russell feels the “magic” lies underneath the car, the floor suspension. The floor of the car made the difference, according to Russell. He told Sky Sports F1, “The new design of the car is because it rules the side pods out. But the magic lies on the floor. It is generally the same for every team’s car.”
The new upgrades that Mercedes put in W14 are the side pods, plus the front and floor suspension. Moreover, people noticed the change in the diffuser of the car. George Russell had a funny take on the 25-year-old Red Bull’s champion Max Verstappen, saying, “Max would finish at P1 even if RB19 had no side pods. He would still be 24 seconds faster.” At the end of the interview with Sky Sports F1, George Russell mentioned, “We are happy to get in the right direction finally after the team has done such tremendous work.”
Lewis Hamilton And Mercedes Struggled A Lot Without Sidepods
Russell’s teammate, the seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton earned his second podium finish this season. He had a P2 finish in the Australian Grand Prix as well. Overall, it was Hamilton’s 193rd podium finish. Lewis Hamilton has won 103 races out of those podium finishes. But for the last two years, Mercedes has struggled with their car’s concept. Like Red Bull, other teams presumed that the car would need side pods to get better results in the new cost cap era.
But Mercedes thought otherwise. They maintained their zero-side pods design, but it was a disaster for this highly successful team. They barely managed to win a solitary race in Brazil last year. Mercedes did not have much luck in other places. For instance, in the Canadian Grand Prix, the engine of Mercedes broke down.