Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team Manager Toto Wolff believed the team got the most out of qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prixwith george russell in fourth and Lewis Hamilton in sixth.
“P4 and P6 are probably the best positions we could have expected today, given the challenges we faced over the first five race weekends and the progress we are now starting to make with the car. .”
Wolff said that unlike its competitors, the team focused on fixing the rebound issue before continuing development. Now that they’ve mastered porpoising, Wolff is confident the team can push forward and close their gap to the front.
“Overall, I think we took a solid step forward this weekend, and we also know how to unlock more performance. Our rivals continued development while we paused to solve the rebound – so when we take that and start to understand the tires better now that the bouncing is gone, then I think we’ll close them.
Wolff said W13 are better suited for racing than qualifying, which may play a role in their ability to defend their position or even climb the ranks.
“I think we have more of a race car than a qualifying car, so we’ll see how it goes tomorrow; the trend has generally been for Red Bull to be stronger in racing, Ferrari less so, but who knows what will happen tomorrow.
Mercedes Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin also believes there is a better outcome to be found on race day, as the team’s long runs have proven even more promising than their laps. unique in testing.
“It’s a very different package we’ve brought here and we’re still learning how to make the most of it. We are looking forward to tomorrow, our long race seemed more competitive than a single lap yesterday, so hopefully we can put pressure on the cars ahead of us and the heavy downgrade should give some interesting options on strategy.
Although the team’s qualifying result signaled an improvement in performance, Shovlin said there were a few key areas that kept them from challenging the frontrunners.
“It’s frustrating not to be closer to the front; we clearly made progress with the car, but we had a bit of overheating in the final sector and once it starts, the slippage generates more heat, and the problem gets worse. This explains a good part of the difference, but we are probably a little behind on the settings.
Ultimately, Shovlin is happy with the ground the team has gained in terms of pace and predictability, and is looking to continue to build on that result.
“Given the gaps we’ve been looking at in recent races, we never expected to close in one leg, so even if we can’t settle for fourth and sixth, it’s at least encouraging that we have a car that is we behave more predictably and are taking steps in the right direction.