Mercedes F1 boss believes they can still win championship

After a disappointing finish in Imola a dejected Lewis Hamilton stated he “had no chance” of winning this years Formula 1 driver’s title. The 7 times F1 champion has been consistently beaten by his new team mate George Russell on most track sessions at each GP weekend.

The W13 was described by Toto Wolff as “un-drivable” following the first Italian race as he apologised to his champion driver over pit radio.

Yet a ‘filming day’ this week at French Circuit Paul Ricard where Mercedes ‘secretly’ tested new upgrades they have brought to the Spanish GP appear to have changed everything.

Both drivers have demonstrated a more positive demeanour in the practice sessions in Barcelona with Sky’s Rachel Brooks telling Lewis, “it’s nice to see you so positive again”.

In final practice before qualifying, George Russell was third just 0.15s slower than session leader Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc. Hamilton was another tenth behind his team mate in P4.

The porpoising which made the W13 so difficult to drive appears to be mostly under control though the front wing on Hamilton’s car was vibrating violently during the final practice session.

The team were seen to be making big changes in set up as they swung from a high downforce front wing setup to one that saw Lewis improve his top speed through the speed gun, beating Verstappen’s best effort.
What a difference a test has made.

After 5 races the Mercedes team are 63 points behind Ferrari and 57 behind Red Bull, a huge gap at this stage of the season.
Yet Mike Elliot, technical director at Brackley, believes the team is not out of the race to win a 9th constructor’s title.

“We’re not a huge distance behind. If we can get the car to a position where we’re competitive and hopefully out in front then there’s every chance [of defending our title],” Elliot told paddock reporters.

“But we’ve got to have a level of humility. These guys [Red Bull] have made a really good start, Ferrari have made a really good start and they are not going to be easy to chase down.”

Mercedes need to prove they can score poles and win races before such optimism can really become reality.

And “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”.

Qualifying is up in 30 minutes and that will be the real test of where Mercedes are. When the engine modes will be run to the max and tyres under maximum pressure will demonstrate how close Mercedes really are.

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