Having topped the FP2 session in Miami with George Russell, Mercedes began to show their 2022 car’s true potential. 2 weeks earlier this was a car described by their team boss as “undriveable” yet now top of the pile that description looked farcical.
Miami FP3 then bites Mercedes back, as changes they made to the car from the previous session saw their drivers in the bottom 5.
The big picture is simple. Over the first 5 race weekends, Mercedes George Russell is the only driver to have finished the GP in the top 5. That is the very definition of reliability and a fast car; Certainly faster than 7 other teams.
Further, when driver and strategy errors are eliminated, the Mercedes car has always looked the third quickest car on the 2022 grid. So why did team boss Toto Wolff describe it as “undriveable” following the chequered flag at the Imola GP?
The Mercedes F1 car and the way the team choose to set it up is highly unpredictable, but any driver from Alpine, Aston Martin, Alpha Tuari, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Haas or Williams would gladly trade their drive for a seat at Mercedes.
So why the doom and gloom? No team can win everything forever.
The problem is Mercedes have become accustomed to winning by default, and it is difficult for their ‘lead’ driver and team boss to accept the order in F1 has changed.
It always does eventually.
Yet the air of entitlement in the Mercedes team hasn’t yet been extinguished, but it will, eventually
Toto Wolff grudgingly admitted to Ted Kravitz following the Miami GP – and in a U-Turn from Imola who there claimed the car was “undriveable” – “We are the third quickest on the road, but we are in no man’s land”.
Further, this W13 car will not win a race in its current form. There is a prior drawing board version of the W13, which has less potential but may be more reliable. Mercedes may soon be forced to consider returning to their simpler but more predictable W13 if results do not improve.