Mercedes Concentrates on Enhancing F1 Qualifying Speed with W15

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Mercedes focused on improving F1 qualifying pace with W15

During the three-day winter test in Bahrain, the Brackley squad, led by George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, opted for a strategy focused on enduring performances rather than aiming for quick glory runs.

Russell secured a commendable third place on the final day, utilizing softer C4 tyres, after both drivers had kept a low profile on the leaderboard earlier in the week.

Andrew Shovlin, the team’s trackside engineering director, elaborated on their approach, highlighting their emphasis on refining the car’s setup for sustained performance rather than chasing a single-lap pace.

He noted that there is still room for improvement in this aspect, expressing confidence in their ability to showcase stronger performances once the Bahrain Grand Prix commences.

Mercedes Concentrates on Enhancing F1 Qualifying Speed with W15
Mercedes Concentrates on Enhancing F1 Qualifying Speed with W15 (Credits: Autosport)

“We’re still trying to fine-tune the setup, there will definitely be more to come,” Shovlin remarked in a Mercedes social media briefing. “Overall we’re happy, we definitely made progress. In terms of pace, the long run probably looks like our strength at the moment.”

He further explained that since the implementation of the new regulations in 2022, Hamilton and Russell have grappled with the unpredictable nature of Mercedes cars, which demanded a shift towards more consistent and manageable handling characteristics.

Shovlin’s assessment resonated with Russell’s observation that his car is no longer temperamental.

“It’s really encouraging that a lot of the problems that the drivers have been talking about in the last 12 and even 24 months with W13 and W14, we seem to have got to grips with,” Shovlin added.

However, despite the positive strides made by Mercedes, Hamilton acknowledged the impressive performance of Red Bull’s RB20, particularly in the hands of Max Verstappen, who showcased exceptional long runs during the Bahrain test.

Hamilton recognized that Red Bull still holds an advantage but remained optimistic about Mercedes’ progress and the foundation they have laid for the upcoming season.

“It’s much more enjoyable to drive,” Hamilton remarked. “We still also have time to find, but I think Red Bull clearly are out in the distance. But I think it’s a good platform to work from this year.”

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