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Mixed Fortunes for Mercedes in F1 Practice Sessions

Mercedes F1: High Hopes Dampened in FP2

22/03/2024

After a promising start with Russell’s third place, Mercedes faced challenges in FP2, highlighting the team’s fluctuating performance.

Mercedes F1 had reasons for optimism following the day’s first practice session, with George Russell securing third place. However, in FP2, the British driver couldn’t replicate his earlier success, appearing slightly off the pace, with the Brackley team not matching the speed of the fastest cars.

“We pushed the boundaries today and had a few challenging moments,” Russell remarked. “But ultimately, everything was under control. It was very tight in the first session and a bit more spread out in the second.”

“I was on track for a very competitive time on my last flying lap on soft tires, but I ran wide in the last two corners and sustained minor damage to the front wing. Without that, I think we could have finished the session in third place.”

“We’re trying to better understand this car and made some changes after Saudi Arabia. Every lap is valuable as you learn more about the car and try to fine-tune it.”

“The factory team will work hard in the simulator to enhance the car’s performance. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. When you arrive the next day, the situation can often be very different.”

For Lewis Hamilton, the day’s second session was troubling, finishing 18th, 1.5 seconds off Charles Leclerc’s leading time, and struggling to comprehend the performance issues following radical setup changes.

“The car didn’t feel good today. We hit the ground running in the first free practice session, where the car generally performed well,” Hamilton observed.

“The first run was actually the best I’ve felt in the car since the start of the year. To continue learning, we made some significant changes for FP2, and unfortunately, the car was worse. It was challenging, but there are positives we can take from the first session.”

Mercedes F1 Has Not Found “the Right Direction”

Team Principal Toto Wolff admitted the team is concerned about not understanding their car: “We conducted experiments but have yet to unlock the performance. In the second session, we made a fairly radical setup change for Lewis, which backfired.”

“But that’s why we have these sessions. On the other hand, it was slightly better, but we’re lacking single-lap performance. If he had completed that lap, it might have been slightly better. But overall, it wasn’t a good day.”

Mercedes and Wolff echo sentiments from previous years, which isn’t very reassuring, about having performance in the W15 but not being able to harness it: “If I said I wasn’t frustrated, that wouldn’t be true, we obviously are.”

“We’re putting a lot of effort in all directions, but it seems we haven’t yet found the magic solution that would help us take the right direction. But we must continue trying.”

“We’ve already seen performance in this car. I don’t want to look back and say we’re not good under this regulation because we have everything it takes to improve, and we will.”

Mixed Fortunes for Mercedes in F1 Practice Sessions. Mixed Fortunes for Mercedes in F1 Practice Sessions

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