Russell ahead of Hamilton in upgraded Mercedes

The much awaited debut of the upgraded Mercedes car which tested this week at Paul Ricard has shown it’s capability in FP1 at the Circuit de Catalunya. As has been the story of the season so far, George Russell performed better than his 7 times champion team mate, the young Brit finished the session over 0.2 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Hamilton reported a malfunctioning DRS flap which would have cost him time down the front straight and given he has won the last 5 races in Barcelona he could easily deliver a better lap time than Russell in FP2 when his car is fully functional.

Gran Premi de Catalunya Moto GP

There appeared to be no porpoising from either W13 which was running much lower to the ground than in the previous 5 race weekends. Mercedes have had to run the ride height higher than is optimal prior to Barcelona to reduce the bouncing effect on the drivers. This in turn reduces the performance of the W13.

If Mercedes have solved the porpoising it may be possible to close the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull, though Russell was still over 0.7s slower than session leader Charles LeClerc with Hamilton almost a second behind the Monogasque driver.

The track temperature will change for FP2 which may help Mercedes as it did in Miami where George Russell topped the time sheets overall.

The upgraded Ferrari car finished the session 1-2 with Verstappen 3/10ths back, though the world champion was severely impeded by slower cars on his qualifying simulation

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