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Hamilton Russell Race Strategy F1 2024 Bahrain race

Hamilton vs. Russell: Divergent Setups, Varied Outcomes

01/03/2024

The significant qualifying position gap between the Mercedes drivers, favoring either Lewis Hamilton or George Russell, marks the start of the 2024 Formula 1 season. Though the gap is only a few tenths, it puts Hamilton in ninth place on the Bahrain Grand Prix grid, while Russell will start third.

Historically, such situations were often the result of a capricious Mercedes W13 or W14, where only one of the drivers managed to find the right setting for the weekend or better cope with the car’s limitations and compromises. However, the onset of the W15 suggests a different dynamic, despite some differentiation in settings.

Following Thursday’s practice, both drivers were satisfied with their setup for one-lap performance, with Hamilton and Russell finishing first and second in FP2, though this result should be taken with caution. Hamilton remains enthusiastic about Mercedes’ progress over the winter, despite his disappointing qualification – his lowest season start since the 2009 Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton Russell Race Strategy

Hamilton attributes the difference to Russell to a divergence in setup choices: “Yesterday, George and I had identical setups, the car was fantastic. We took different directions, and unfortunately, the one I chose did not prove effective over one lap. I hope it will pay off in the race!”

He modified his car to improve race pace, hoping this would compensate. Hamilton emphasizes the importance of race pace and remains optimistic about Mercedes’ overall performance, despite his setup choice disrupting the car’s balance.

Toto Wolff, the team boss, explained that the goal was to prepare the car for the race, even if it impacted qualifying performance. The strategy seems to have been to favor the race, which was confirmed by the difficulties encountered in qualifying due to changing track conditions.

Russell, on his part, is slightly concerned that his setup direction might affect his race pace. Qualifying performance has improved compared to testing, but it remains to be seen if this has not harmed their race pace.

Hamilton Russell Race Strategy

What’s clear is that Mercedes is not discouraged by the performance variations between the drivers, which have characterized the ground effect era so far. There’s no fear that this marks the return of inconsistent performance from one day to the next or from one track to another.

The team is confident that the W15 offers a better platform for progress and competition against Red Bull throughout the season, as highlighted by Hamilton. Only the future will tell if the choices made for this Grand Prix will be beneficial, but one thing is for certain: Mercedes lacks no ambition for the 2024 season.

Hamilton Russell Race Strategy F1 2024 Bahrain race. Hamilton Russell Race Strategy F1 2024 Bahrain race

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