The Formula One 2022 weekend in Barcelona saw a rejuvenated and optimistic attitude from the Mercedes F1 drivers. A redesigned floor and other upgrades brought to the car led them to believe an assault on pole positions and race wins were not far away.
A week later in Monaco, the W13 cars woes resurfaced and the optimism visibly began to drain away.
Following a tough qualifying in Azerbaijan any remnant of hope has been extinguished as George Russell revealed his opinion on the actual competitiveness of the Mercedes F1 car.
Russell qualified P5 behind the Ferrari’s and Red Bulls whilst ex world champion team mate Hamilton was P7.
In the media pen George was asked whether he could challenge the cars ahead for maybe a podium finish. The British driver responded surprisingly noting his team were closer to the back of the grid than the leading F1 cars.
“We’re not going to get anything more on merit,” shrugged Russell.
“The slowest car on the grid is closer to us than we are to Ferrari or Red Bull, to put it into perspective.”
“So other than a late safety car and we’re strategically on the right tyres at the right time, or there are issues ahead, P5 is the maximum.”
Toto Wolff appeared to share the negativity of his young driver stating, “For tomorrow, if you look at it through rose-tinted glasses you can see hopefully the four of them ahead come together in Turn 1 and then we can win the race!” he joked.
The Mercedes boss added realistically, “There’s no doubt the gap to the front is big. It’s a long lap time here and we are lacking pretty much everywhere. I wish I didn’t need to look at these kinds of performance overlays in future with the guys up front.”
It’s hard to see how the target of challenging Ferrari and Red Bull by Silverstone as set by Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish GP is anything more than a pipe dream right now.
The race before then is in Montreal, a happy hunting ground over the years for Hamilton. Yet the current Mercedes W13 car’s characteristics will probably be woeful there too.