Mercedes off to a better start than expected – Brawn

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says they have begun the season more strongly than they expected to.

“Our season has started well, perhaps better than we expected, however we’re fully aware that there is still a gap to close and that we must keep up the pace of development,” said Brawn.

“A lot of hard work has taken place at our factories over the last two weeks to do just that and I look forward to seeing how that translates to track performance.”

Lewis Hamilton finished third for the team in Malaysia with Nico Rosberg fourth. Hamilton was running strongly in Australia before a mistake forced him to change his strategy, leaving him fifth, while Rosberg retired.

Rosberg scored the only win of Mercedes’ F1 comeback so far in last year’s Chinese Grand Prix but executive director Toto Wolff played down their chances of a repeat:

“One year on from Nico’s win, a lot of people will be asking whether this is something our team can repeat in 2013. But like they say, yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games, and that’s definitely true for us.

“We start again from zero this year and need to work hard to adapt the car to suit the circuit and the tyre compounds we have available, in the conditions that we find on track next weekend.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Mercedes off to a better start than expected – Brawn”

  1. I must say, Merc have surprised me this season. They’re always there or there abouts at the beginning of the season, I just hope that they can keep a strong line of development.

    I expect a good weekend for them in China, Nico won there last year (and think he was leading the year before then had to save fuel) and Lewis usually goes pretty well there. 2 wins, 2 podiums, a 6th and the unforgettable DNF whilst challenging for the win.

    I think this may be their best chance for pole so far so long as it stays dry. And who knows after that, maybe a win’s on the cards.

    1. They arguably have the two best drivers in the world around the Shanghai circuit, so they should be undoubtedly good around there.

  2. I am sure a lot of peolple would never have thought Merc would have such a strong car this year and expected them to be in the mid field. It may yet come to pass, but at the moment their biggest problem is managing expectations because there are a lot of people that are waiting in the wings to start slating Lewis when he stumbles, and he will. Just hope by then he would have bagged a win and settled his and the team’s nerves.

  3. Mercedes are quietly going about their business and are going to be serious contenders this season. Its interesting how the likes of Sir Jackie Stewart are changing their tone, from “Hamilton’s move was a mistake” to “Hamilton can challenge for the title”; if i was a betting man, i would place a fiver on a Hamilton victory at shanghai next weekend.

    1. I agree on your Jackie Stewart point, I always like how he never acknowledges his change of heart, he is very prone to making those kind of statements.

      There should be a database for all sports statements so we can see how they change their tune to be right.

      1. I always like how he never acknowledges his change of heart

        I so dislike people who do that.
        That pen ‘red’, yes it’s blue….

        1. I can’t say I really blame JS for his opinion on LH’s move. Many shared that opinion. At the time, Merc was struggling, and Mac is usually a top 3 team. Personally I didn’t think LH’s move was a mistake because I thought it was necessary that he leave the nest…to me it was never about whether the Mac or the Merc would be the car to be in for 2013. LH leaving Mac went far deeper than just how fast each car would be this year. He HAD to leave Mac, imho.

          Now that Merc has done better in these first two races, I can somewhat understand getting excited for LH, but personally I think that assessment is premature. I think when things even out and we get some weekends of consistant weather, the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Lotus’s are going to be hard for Merc to compete against.

          So for me I don’t agree with JS on either count. I didn’t think LH made a mistake to go to Merc, and I don’t think he will have the car this year for the WDC. Almost always the WDC has the WCC winning car, and does anybody really believe that over a season the Mercs will end up ahead of Red Bull, and Ferrari, if nobody else?

  4. We still haven’t seen a fully dry qualifying, so we don’t know how quick the Mercedes really is, but I think we can expect them to do well in China. In the race in Malaysia Mercedes was pretty competitive, only their challenge was blunted by underfuelling Hamilton and also they didn’t get the hard tyres to work as well as the mediums. If they can piece everything together on a weekend I think they will be fighting with Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus for any of the podium positions.

    1. What tyres are Pirrelli taking to China by the way. I never used to think about tyres, but that’s the era we are living in I guess!

        1. cheers Keith

  5. Mercedes have been enjoying quite strong season openings (including the Brawn year), but then they slowly fade away, and “start to concentrate on next years car”. I hope that this year they can maintain their performance, and won’t be on the back foot when it comes down to the development-race.

  6. wounder how much info Lewis still has on his phone from the McLaren days.
    regardless of that, i am impressed with the progress they have managed,
    plus it is great to have at least another 3 teams licking the heels of the so called top 3,
    thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 races, keep it up F1…

  7. I am going to make a bold prediction – Mercedes will show their usual strong pace in China, good enough to win. And they will win. And the winner will be Rosberg. And Hamilton will not be happy because the team will make a mistake in the pits or with strategy that mightn’t have been enough to cost him the win but will be blamed for it anyway, and the Mercedes driver friendship will be over by race 3.

    There, I said it!

    1. Cool story bro

    2. If your prophesy comes to pass, roll me one of what you are smoking! LOL

    3. I’m putting that comment on the sports prediction database @georgetuk mentionned alongside Stewart’s predictions and opinions. (Jordan’s recent correct predictions have opened up a lot of space on it).

      1. You can put this one on as well. Rosberg will out perform hamilton this year!

    4. Would be a nice bit of spicing up the weekend.

  8. Sem (@05abrahamsemere)
    5th April 2013, 13:23

    While Hamilton has done a better job than I expected, I still think what Button could have achieved in that Mercedes. Over three years, Button proved his superiority, in my opinion, over the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Riakonnen. Even in his worst year 2012, with all the the bad luck that Button endured, that he still managed to be within two points of Hamilton is a remarkable achievement – which is why he was voted best British driver by Autosport. Let’s see what Hamilton achieves this year, if he can prove he, and for that matter Vettel, is on par with the likes of Button. In my view, the only driver that is currently in Button’s league is Alonso. As I said, this will be a fascinating season in any case.

    1. Lol. Either you are being sarcastic or you are a Button fanatic!

      Either way Button is good on his tyres because of his smooth driving and that basically gives him some advantage. I don’t see anything special in him other than that. He can’t deal with an imperfect car, he is not good at raw pace. Myabe another thing he is good at is reading changing conditions better.

    2. While we’re at it, we might want to check wether Hamilton, Vettel or even Rosberg while we’re at it are really on par with Petrov, as there still is plenty of doubt.

      1. I doubt that button could have won 3 world championships had he been put in a red bull for the last 3 years, and whilst he scored more points than Hamilton over the last 3 years, if Hamilton’s car hadn’t had a mechanical failure in most of the races he led last year button would’ve been nowhere compared to him.

        1. Button good on tires is as bogus as Hamilton is bad on tires. Anyone noticed that last season Hamilton made his tires last longer than Button? My observation is this. Button is a very fast driver, but it seems he is not good at giving feedback to develop the car. I think that is the reason the Braun finished with a whimper in 2009. And I think that is why Button hasn’t had a lot of success. Notice last season, McLaren lost their way in the middle of the season while trying to make the car work for Button. Conversely, it appears Hamilton gives good feedback, which is benefiting Merc now and McLaren is missing. I am correct, I expect McLaren to struggle for much of the season.

    3. I almost clicked the Report User button — but remembered that stupid fantastical statements are permitted. Sorry Sem, but that was stupid and fantastical.

      Vishy has it right. Button has some very good strategic outings in changing conditions, is good on tires, and can win in the wet. He even shows flashes of brilliant, uncharacteristic aggressiveness time and again. Cool headed, likeable guy. But nowhere near Hamilton, Vettel, or Alonso for raw pace. Not close. Not even in the same galaxy as Alonso and Hamilton for managing a difficult driver. I mean c’mon… some intellectual honesty bruthuh!

      1. LOL! Too funny, I almost did the same.

    4. Haha ! Erm.. Sem… April fools was last week ! But seriously you have to be joking. He’s voted top by auto sport because he has more fans, don’t forget he’s been in f1 a lot longer than Hamilton. He was voted the favorite driver on here not long ago also. To say he’s faster and better than Vettel, Hamilton , Alonso, rosberg ,Raikkonen, Schumacher is a bit of a joke.

      1. He is the driver with most fans within registered F1F users who have filled their user form.

  9. yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games

    Since when did European F1 folks start using American baseball idioms? :-)

    1. Probably around the same time that they started watching NASCAR.

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