Mercedes explained their shortcomings and outlined what needs to improve after the Bahrain GP, after the Silver Arrows achieved an unlikely third-place finish after both Red Bulls retired late on
Mercedes have identified the issues they need to iron out after securing an unlikely podium at the Bahrain GP. Lewis Hamilton benefited from late retirements from Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to finish third, when he seemed to be heading for a fifth-place finish.
The Silver Arrows struggled throughout pre-season testing and the opening race weekend, as they lacked straight-line pace, which has been a hallmark of their dominance over the last several years. The challenges stem from issues that are both aerodynamic and engine-based.
The W13 has to run too high off the ground to offset the problems with porpoising or bouncing at high speeds. This affects the car’s ability to punch a clean hole through the air, which produces excessive drag and lack of grip.
There are significant issues which Mercedes will not have time to iron out before the next race in Saudi Arabia this weekend. Hamilton himself suggested it may take several races for his team to reach the levels fans have become accustomed to, a statement which team principal Toto Wolff agreed with.
“I think with the soft tyre, on pure pace before the tyre degrades, we are almost there. Not where Leclerc (Ferrari) is but with the others. The degradation is too big,” the Austrian said. “We tried to do something different by putting the hard tyre on but it was a second slower every single lap, so lesson learned.
“We had too much drag and that is just because we are lacking parts at the moment. Hopefully we can remedy that, and make progress on the top two’s advantage. We really need to leave no stone unturned on the power unit side and look for all performance gains but the wing was the issue for us on straight line speed.
AFP via Getty Images)
“At the moment we are fifth and sixth on the track, and we are trying to recover ground but it is not going to come from one day to the other. We’ll keep pushing.” Following his latest podium finish, a delighted Hamilton acknowledged there is plenty of work to be done for Mercedes to compete with the likes of Ferrari, who finished first and second in the opening race of the 2022 season.
“There is no better feeling when you come together and have a result like this,” he said. “I know the guys are working really hard back at the factory and it’s not going to be a quick turnaround, but as a team I do feel we’ve been the best unified team for so long. If we keep our heads down and keep working… there’s a long way to go.”