The upgraded W13 upgrades have improved the car significantly and in FP2 on Friday Russell and Hamilton were 0.1s and 0.2s slower than session leader Charles LeClerc. In Miami Russell had topped the timesheets in the same session, but fell away drastically as the cars took to the track on Saturday in The United States.
Today in final practice the Mercedes cars faded slightly, but still finished the session P3 (Russell) and P4 (Hamilton).
The Mercedes drivers had reported much less ‘bouncing’ on Friday in Barcelona due to the upgrades, yet close up shots of the front wing of the W13 on Saturday practice showed it was bouncing significantly more than their Red Bull competitors.
The Brackley team are struggling to set up the W13 as we saw when Hamilton pitted mid session – the change in front wing adjustment was huge with a visible movement to the naked eye. This resulted in Lewis struggling for top speed on his next lap, so the mechanics adjusted Hamilton’s front wing significantly before he went out for his next run.
Lewis questioned over the it radio which setting the team had given him.
With the reduced wing setting Hamilton then went quicker through the speed gun than Max Verstappen.
However the usual slick Brackley operation appeared visibly confused during the final practice before qualifying just two hours later. Hamilton suffered another DRS failure as he did in Friday practice.
They were making big changes to the W13 each time Hamilton pitted, as though they weren’t sure which was to go. Usually by the end of FP3, the adjustments are small, honing the balance of the car, rather than the big adjustments we saw Mercedes making to Hamilton’s car.
On the bright side Lewis Hamilton was quicker than Max Verstappen through S1 on his final flying lap, but lost 0.4s in the final sector as the W13 tyres overheated.
One lap pace is still improved on the W13 as Russell finished the session 0.15s slower than the leader Charles LeClerc and Hamilton was again behind his team mate by a almost another tenth of a second.