George Russell, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Mercedes “a second per lap” off Red Bull’s pace – Russell

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Mercedes is a second behind Red Bull on qualifying and race pace, said George Russell after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Russell finished fifth in Jeddah, having spent much of the race, essentially, alone on track. He crossed the line 32.732 seconds after winner Max Verstappen, which he said he believed represented the Mercedes pace, relative to Red Bull.

“I think we have a better handle on the race pace than we do quali pace,” said Russell. “But the inherent issues are still there – low fuel, high fuel – and that’s compromising us.

“So when I look at the result, we finished 30 seconds behind, I think that’s probably 30 laps after the safety car, a second a lap. That’s how far we were behind in qualifying, as well.”

Russell said he and Lewis Hamilton have explored different set-up directions as the team try to solve the problems with their 2022 car. “I think on Lewis’s side of the garage they probably went a bit more conservative with the set-up than we did and that was the difference. It’s really a fine line between getting the car in the right window.

“Sometimes there’s so many factors that play when we’re balancing, and sometimes we change the set-up, we think it’ll be an improvement but it actually makes it slightly worse and it’s just seemingly a little bit inconsistent.”

Start, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in pictures
However the complexity of the porpoising problem continues to present challenges for the team.

“There’s so many factors at play between the mechanical, the stiffness of the car, then the stiffness of the floors, the design of the floors, tyre pressures, it’s so many factors at play that contribute to making it better or worse,” said Russell.

“The faster you go, the worse it gets so it makes it harder for qualifying because we turn the engines up to maximum power and go quicker down the straight, which causes more downforce and causes more porpoising. So we almost need to pre-empt this issue. Also in the race when you have the DRS closed, you have more downforce than you do with the DRS open and that’s another factor we need to consider.

“So we’re still learning, and that’s why we’re far from optimal. As I say, if we solve the porpoising that will cure 99% of our issues.”

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Hazel Southwell
    Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
    Claire Cottingham
    Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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    76 comments on “Mercedes “a second per lap” off Red Bull’s pace – Russell”

    1. Always remember: It’s not the engine. It’s not the engine. It’s NOT the engine!

      1. Yup, all Mercedes teams have bad, draggy aero… Poor speed on the straights.

        1. Only 1% of the problem it seems.

    2. If we apply Mercedes’ usual factor of understatement, this means they are actually 0.5 seconds ahead of Red Bull. Remarkable that they have turned things around so quickly.

      1. “So when I look at the result, we finished 30 seconds behind, I think that’s probably 30 laps after the safety car, a second a lap. That’s how far we were behind in qualifying, as well.”

        Reading past the headline can be difficult so I’ve highlighted the point in the article which the headline references.

        1. If you do not understand the things that are written may another forum is your thing.

        2. Russell got the right answer from the wrong data. From lap 21 to lap 37 with Russell and Leclerc in clean air he lost near enough exactly 16 seconds. The lap charts show a straight line as both ran a consistent pace with Russell losing a second a lap. The later laps are all over the place. Russell lost a lot of time under VSC and gained time while Leclerc and Verstappen battled then lost time as Russell cruised under no pressure while Verstappen and Leclerc were flat out.

        3. Reading and comprehending facts is not the main skill of the usual HAM and Merc bashers here.

    3. Good to see that Russell’s transistion to Mercedes goes soo smoothly ;-).

      1. Read the article, just this once read the article

        1. I think you didn’t get the joke…

    4. I doubt this year Mercedes will be able to catch the top 2. They should be worried about midfield now and try to stay in front of Alpine, McLaren, Haas.
      Also try to steal some suspension, floor Engineers from Redbull and Ferrari. It is amazing how Redbull got their Suspension and floor so right so quickly. Even Ferrari showed a bit of porpoising in the last race.

      1. @amg44 I have the same doubt. I wish they could, but I hold minimal hope.
        Budget cap & wind tunnel time allocation (Mercedes have the least time until June 30/July 1) make catching up difficult while RBR & Ferrari equally do car development.
        Mclaren definitely won’t be a threat to them, & neither should Haas or Alpine in the longer term.

        1. Their main problem is that Brawn didn’t design their current chassis.

          1. Or their last chassis. Or the one before that. Or the one before that.

            The last car he’s credited with designing was the W02, in 2011.

      2. Lets be honest here, the car is handling like an absolute monster and they’re still ahead of the midfield and not a million miles away from Ferrari and Red Bull who look planted on track. If they sort out the setup issues and get the car more stable I’d be surprised if they weren’t very close on one lap pace at least to both Ferrari and Red Bull.

        The wind tunnel time is probably irrelevant Jere as the porpoising issue cannot be solved in the wind tunnel due to the nature of the interaction between the air, floor, tyres and suspension travel being impossible to fully model.

        1. @slowmo agreed, if they can solve the handling issues, it looks like they could well be mixing it with Ferrari and Red Bull. It’s a very big “if“, though… It could be a fundamental design issue which makes it near impossible to completely fix it without a massive redesign.

          1. @drmouse I don’t disagree that they could have a fundamental issue although the amount of speed they have in the package with said issue means it’s probably worth pursuing a fix for it. I actually think they’re probably creating too much downforce at top speed which is causing drag and the excessive porpoising. I fully expect the mirror wings will ultimately be changed slightly to direct less air to the rear of the car.

            1. @slowmo I hope so, it would be great to see 3 (or more) teams battling at the top. I don’t think we’ve seen that for many years, even before the Hybrid era!

            2. And even if mercedes comes out with an improved car too late to fight for the championship, it’s always interesting to have a dark horse team, like red bull in 2017-2018, they weren’t fighting for the title but they could on occasion challenge the other 2 teams and win on merit.

          2. @slowmo @drmouse Certainly going to be fascinating to see what they can do. Personally I don’t think their issues are solvable through setup work and I’m only going by the assumption they’ve tried everything available to them in that regard. GR spoke of finding that fine line, but to me that all sounded like if they could find an optimum setup that setup would be fleeting and it’s effectiveness could be gone within one stint, just from fuel burning off, or tire states, or DRS open or closed etc etc. Sounds like their setup work has been all about compromises so far.

            I think they are going to need new parts to solve their issues, of course as long as those new parts work in conjunction with every other aspect on the car, and I’m also not convinced it is a given that solving the porpoising, which will then theoretically cure ‘99% of their issues’, will also automatically result in a car that has suddenly found 1+ seconds per lap. But hey, I suppose it is possible and if anyone can do it, well, Mercedes should never be underestimated.

            There’s also the interesting aspect that all Mercedes powered cars seem to be lagging a bit vs the other pu makers cars. And I saw an interesting thing earlier that Mercedes are not exactly speedy with their pit stops either, compared to several other teams. In simplified terms they need to immediately start outpacing everyone else in the development game. Matching the likes of Ferrari and RBR will obviously not be enough, and then there’s the reality that both Ferrari drivers and both RBR drivers are doing a pretty solid job of occupying the front 4 positions, so Mercedes needs to get very racy, very soon, obviously. There’s also unknowns such as how their car will treat their tires once they’ve made the big changes and have found said 1+ seconds.

            Anyway, nobody knows all this stuff more than Mercedes themselves.

            1. @robbie I think it’s pretty apparent from some of the drivers comments about not being a quick fix that this is going to need some parts to resolve. Given how severe the porpoising issues are compared to other teams I suspect they’re getting more flow to the rear of the car and less outwash which is thus causing higher pressure on the rear floor and overloading it causing the bottoming and stalling.

              The way they tried hacking away at the floor in Bahrain is suggestive that they were trying to reduce the power of their rear floor. The fix they implemented for Bahrain weekend was to crank up the ride height and add more traditional downforce which caused more drag and hence slower top speeds. I think all the engine performance is indicative of at the moment is the Mercedes teams have poor drivability and likely higher ride height suspension setups resulting in higher rake and drag.

              I think the key is that if they solve the porpoising issues without compromising their setup of the car then will they find all the lost time as the performance with the current compromises is as you say 0.5-1 second off the pace. Fun times for the neutrals though watching their development this year.

            2. @slowmo Fair comment. I was just playing off your “If they sort out the setup issues and get the car more stable…” comment.

              Further to your post immediately above, as well there was the ‘chainsawed’ rear wing they tried last weekend, to help reduce drag I believe.

              I’m certainly not a neutral, but keeping things in ‘global perspective’ I’m just always utterly grateful we even have F1 and I consider it all ‘fun times’ in the grand scheme of things (e.g. as a Max fan I was absolutely fine with CL and Ferrari looking so strong in race one, and was thrilled for SP’s pole last weekend), so yes it is going to be fun and fascinating to see how this season unfolds, perhaps moreso than the usual season when things aren’t as new and development is more predictable shall we say.

            3. Who is truly neutral, I suppose to the non partisans would have been a better phrase. We all often have bias but it’s the lack of compromise or reason that makes people not neutral in their debate of the sport :-). I’m a Norris/McLaren man myself mainly now but I find the technical side of the sport most interesting and love this time of new regulations and indeed seasons where the pecking order is being ironed out and the development race ramps up.

              The racing between Ferrari and Red Bull is good so far so it’s looking like it could be a good season if that continues. If Mercedes were able to get there too even better, if not then it’s not a tragedy.

            4. @slowmo FWIW, here’s some folks on twitter trying to argue the same.. that the drag from rear tires might also be significant.


              I think the car has way too much downforce.. and the fact that they have packaged the engine/cooling the way they have, they can even experiment with side-pod designs like that of Ferrari/Redbull — or even their own Barcelona ones if needed later.

        2. @slowmo the problem is that Ferrari / Red Bull are not a standing target. They’ll get faster during the season as well.

          I guess this year for Mercedes will be more like the Red Bull of the 2018-2020 era, good enough for podiums and an occasional win or two, but not championship contenders.

          1. @afonic that would be the safe bet, I guess it depends if their design is fundamentally superior or not and whether they can leverage it before they need to abandon it and go for a more conventional design. I do think ultimately the most likely scenario is they’ll fix the big issues but the car will never be fast enough this year but I do hope they have faster package once sorted as it would really mix up the racing throughout the year.

        3. It’s not impossible to model– just impossible to model under current “cost saving” regulations.

          Put the car into Windshear over in the US, and they should be able to fully replicate the problem– it’s a rolling road, 180mph wind tunnel.

          1. That doesn’t model the bumps in tracks, the true suspension reaction or the tyre deflection. Trust me, its not possible in a wind tunnel.

      3. @amg44 According to Russell, the porpoising is responsible for 99% of Mercedes’ problems (I will not share the link from a different site). If that is indeed the case, then solving this issue will lead to Mercedes being competitive again. I have no doubt they will find a solution this year.

        We saw it in 2009: McLaren and Ferrari were on the backfoot after battling for the championship the year before. After the summer break both of them were fighting for the wins again. Fighting for the championship however is too much.

        1. @matthijs 2009 was not a normal year, however. There was a fundamental disagreement over the legality of the double diffuser which became part of the FOTA-FIA conflict (Adrian Newey spoke about this a few years ago now). Once Ferrari and McLaren adapted their cars, Räikkönen and Hamilton outscored the title contenders Button and Vettel in the latter part of the season.

          This year Mercedes doesn’t have a quick fix, but they obviously don’t have a bad car either. They’re maybe a bit like where Red Bull was for a while with the Renault engines; behind the leaders but easily ahead of the midfield. Still, for all the talk of the aerodynamic struggles – it remains a curious fact that all Mercedes-powered cars seem to be lacking some pace.

          1. I agree with you, but the parallel I am trying to make is that when there is a huge overhaul of the regulations, there will always be teams that have issues or took the wrong turn. But because the concept of the new car is so fresh, there are huge gains to be made, different from last year when development could only be small and incremental. I have no doubt that Mercedes, with all their knowledge, experience and budget, are able to find a solution to their wrong philosophy and I am confident they are able to do it in this season.

            1. There are two things that make a recovery less likely:

              (1) The engines are now homologated. If the Merc lump is bad, there’s no fixing that.

              (2) Mercedes are currently running on the lowest aero development limits, with Red Bull Racing allowed an extra 7% of development time equivalent, and Ferrari 14% more.

              They are also not bad enough to gain significantly for the second half of the year, likely only going to 3rd in the standings, which will limit their chance to improve in the latter parts of this season and for 2023.

          2. It wasn’t just the double diffuser for McLaren– they had a fundamental aero problem where the front wing was actually causing the rear wing to stall (a simplified explanation).

            Once they nailed that down, with the addition of KERS, the MP4/24 was almost competitive.

            They also adapted the knowledge from that stall issue to create the F-duct, which is now immortalized as DRS.

        2. @matthijs I just don’t think it is a given that solving their porpoising issue, which will theoretically solve 99% of their issues, will also result in a car that is automatically up there with Ferrari and RBR. Solve the porpoising and they’re right back to fighting at the top just sounds too simplified to me. I think it will depend on what they have to do to solve the porpoising, and what those changes they make will do to the performance of the car and how it treats it’s tires for example. Or will the pu still get the proper cooling with said changes, as another example. It’s sure going to be fascinating to watch, and will be quite a feat if they can do what they now need to do which is to outpace everyone else in the development game.

      4. Even though your comment about them not catching RB and Ferrari might come true, I really wanted to see Merc and Lewis at the front. Last year was crazy and it would’ve been a treat to see Max as a world champion, Lewis seeking revenge, and Charles tipped as the next big thing. After all these years of dominance I understand why people might hate Lewis, but I feel this year would’ve been the year to prove to all haters and show his “if you think last year was my best, wait till you see this year.” Also who doesn’t like a 3 way battle between possibly the 3 fastest drivers on the grid currently. Hope the tipped Australia and Imola upgrades put this team at the front.

        1. Well, to be honest I haven’t seen hamilton drag an uncompetitive machinery where it doesn’t deserve to be, if he does well in the circumstances it can still be a positive, something he hasn’t done in his whole career, which can’t be that much longer.

          1. I have to agree here. All greats were visibly great outdriving poor material and outdriving their team mates. Lewis has never shown such skill yet. Partly beyond his control as he immediately had a race winning car on his debut. He really needs a good car to be able to shine. Thats why he gets criticism and thats why his fans so fiercely defend him. They well know 7 titles is ridiculous and mainly driven by luck because of an unprecedented Mercedes dominance. Shouting he is the goat only indicates they havent really seen other eras nor other greats. It takes more than a good car. Now is his time to show what he has got.

            1. Really? The aforementioned 2009 McLaren was pretty miserable, and Hamilton won races in it. He’s beaten his teammate 12 out of the last 14 seasons– and I don’t think any other driver has had 3 WDC’s as teammates.

              Certainly, he didn’t have two entire teams (a primary and a test team) and a tire company devoting all of their energy to making him the #1 driver, with his teammates not allowed to compete seriously for the championship.

            2. Mclaren made some very poor cars which Lewis put in places they had no business being….it’s part of the reason he left…out of fear they would waste his career by churning out the caliber of machinery they have consistently produced since his departure….what a career defining move that turned out to be !

      5. @amg44 I think P3 is the best Merc can get in the constructors this season. I don’t believe they can unlock the full potential of their design until after summer break and at that point Ferrari and Red Bull will have built a significant lead. We obviously are not privy to how much aero development time they have available but it’s my understanding the standing at the half-way point in the season should open up some more wind tunnel/cfd time. Someone please correct me on that.

    5. Does Mercedes car handle the way it does by accident or did they do it on porpoise…?

      1. Mid-week Caption Competition winner ;)

      2. RocketTankski
        30th March 2022, 10:16

        Good catch. Is it a bit fishy how they’re suddenly floundering? They may be all at sea right now, but I’m sure they’ll manatee up and get it done.

        1. Cetacean needed.

      3. I hear they have some upgrades coming down the pike, until then, the car’s a real haddock to drive.

    6. There’s a part of me that can’t enjoy the fresh new era battle up front because as soon as I let hope in the Mercedes will wake from their slumber and it will wither away, and the dull inevitability of the last decade will once again take its place.

      1. I seriously doubt that, even if they get their issues fix, Merc will be ahead. The best they are likely to achieve is becoming roughly on par with RBR and Ferrari, which would make for a 3-team battle up front. That would be amazing, IMHO.

        1. Amen to to that.

      2. +1. They are not out of it yet

      3. Honestly.. I cant think of a way more exciting than Mercedes getting it right this season and chasing the title contenders down. I really doubt that even a team with the GOAT status of Mercedes can close a 0.8s to 1s gap on Red Bull and Mercedes by mid season.

        If they do catch up by race 10 or 11, the championship will probably go down to the wire with Leclerc, Verstappen, Hamilton and Russell in the mix. Can’t be a more thrilling end to the season.

        1. @todfod If they do catch up by race 10 or 11 I don’t see how the Championship will go down to the wire for LH and GR, as they will likely be too far back in points by then, unless they don’t just catch up but become dominant. What I can see happening though is Mercedes catching up to where they will try to disrupt Max from winning the WDC, and RBR the WCC.

          1. @robbie

            I think if they catch up by mid season, they will out develop Red Bull and Ferrari for the rest of the season. It’s entirely debatable, but I think their zero sidepod philosophy could be far ahead of what Red Bull and Ferrari have come up with from a philosophy point of view. I also think they have the strongest qualifying driver pairing on the grid, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see non stop front row lockouts.

            1. @todfod I think the whole world would be surprised to see non stop front row lockouts, so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t. Has any team ever gone from distant third at the beginning to front row lockouts in the second half? But as you say it is entirely debatable. For now RBR and Ferrari have barely suffered porpoising, so I’m not sold on Mercedes’ zero sidepod philosophy vs for example Newey’s take, and I don’t envision teams concerned and starting their own zero sidepod R&D at this particular time.

              Also debatable is who has the strongest qualifying pairing and that is going to depend on their cars too. Perez is already showing much better than last year. And front row lockouts are one thing, and with these cars and potentially 6 drivers all in the mix at the pointy end, front rows are no guarantee of race wins.

              Anyway, all debatable, all speculation for now, and we just have to see what Mercedes does and how long it takes them, all the while RBR and Ferrari will happily carry on advancing their already advanced projects, so it’s going to be a blast to watch it all unfold. They’ll also have done some due diligence after seeing Mercedes’ philosophy wrt deeming if that is a ‘far ahead’ philosophy or not. As well though it would be really interesting to know if Newey et al had considered this type of direction as soon as they had the regs in their hands back in 2019/20, and rejected it. He (and Ferrari) certainly will have had reasons for doing what they have with their side pods, on cars which have been virtually porpoise-free for all intents and purposes.

            2. @robbie

              I think the whole world would be surprised to see non stop front row lockouts, so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t. Has any team ever gone from distant third at the beginning to front row lockouts in the second half?

              No.. but there has been a team in a distant 7th or 8th that started putting it’s car on pole my mid season. Mclaren of 2009 comes to mind. We are also talking about Mercedes here, a team that is probably the GOAT, and far more capable and efficient than a Mclaren team run by Whitmarsh.
              So, no I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mercedes put it consistently on pole once they get their issues sorted.

              Also debatable is who has the strongest qualifying pairing and that is going to depend on their cars too. Perez is already showing much better than last year.

              No he isn’t. He out qualified Max in his second race last year as well (Imola). Perez was never as strong as Ocon in qualifying. So, I don’t event find it remotely true that Perez and Verstappen are stronger qualifying duo. Out of the top 3 teams and their 6 drivers, Perez is a country mile behind all of them in qualifying pace.

            3. @todfod Yeah highly debatable stuff that just has to work it’s way through. It’s a new chapter and just as one example, Perez looks to have a chance at his best season ever, as he is for only his second season in what appears to be a Championship level car, only this time he is not new to the team and they to him. Let’s see if he can rise to the occasion. The past is the past. Same with Mercedes who I certainly don’t agree is necessarily the GOAT other than in their most recent run in the first hybrid chapter. But ‘of all time?’ Debatable. Let’s see if they can rise to the occasion too. I have no doubt they will improve. From what they are saying they don’t think it is going to happen quickly, but of course you never know how much they are ‘sandbagging’ with their remarks. Of course even they could surprise themselves with a discovery that gives them a leap from where they are, but then so could Ferrari and RBR for all we know. Sounds like one of RBR’s more urgent goals is to shed some weight and it sounds like they have a plan for that. It seemed as well like Honda aren’t lagging much behind Ferrari in the pu department based on the last race, and that might even be more because the RBR car might be heavier vs having a lesser pu.

              As I’ve said elsewhere I do not underestimate Mercedes and their abilities, but for now regular poles just seem unlikely, but then, you are talking in another 8 or 9 races, so who knows. The quicker they start to improve, the less surprised I’ll be if they indeed start being pole-worthy. If RBR and Ferrari advance their cars while Mercedes goes back to the drawing board they might need to find 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap to do what you think they might by mid-season. Sounds like a tall order, at least for a Championship run. But the odd pole? They’ll just have to prove that in reality. And there’s the Max factor, who imho is the best driver on the grid.

            4. @todfod Just read an article about Mercedes and their woes, and I am even more convinced now than before that this is not a car that ‘just needs it’s potential unlocked’ as it has been worded by the likes of GR. No, it sounds more serious than that and is going to require new parts and (my wording) a rethink. Apparently it starts with a new floor as their next upgrade which won’t be until they are back in Europe, and then different side pods and wings after that. Of course I couldn’t possibly know what the new side pods might look like and perhaps they will still be quite of the ‘zero’ nature, but this just to say I am sure not convinced they have gone the route of a ‘far ahead’ philosophy and are rather in rethink mode. This also to say I am not saying they won’t find their way with these changes, but it just supports what I think which is that I don’t think other teams are seriously considering heading towards a zero side pod style.

      4. Isnt it because merc are no longer at the top that f1 is interesting again. We are bored of their domination for the last decade. Its fresh to have 2 new teams now battling at the front.

    7. Ricardo Baptista
      30th March 2022, 13:17

      You love to see it!

    8. I luv chicken
      30th March 2022, 17:09

      Somebody should grab Alain Prost, and get him involved with fixing the porpoising. IIRC, in the 80’s, the McLaren bounced so much, that the whole thing was terminal. I suspect that he has some good info on getting to the bottom of the situation.

      1. Or maybe somebody should be trying to poach Adrian Newey from RBR if they haven’t tried already.

      2. That seems like a good idea, it’s a shame that prost isn’t involved in a f1 team atm.

    9. Now, if this season one of RB or Ferrari were far out in front with nobody to challenge them, then I’d be slightly miffed about Mercedes’ struggles… but as it is, with two very competitive teams at the front with four excellent drivers, and a midfield that seems to have closed up a bit, I’m rather enjoying it. Never been a Mercedes fan (or a Wolff fan) but I respect their achievements in recent years. However, it is refreshing to see them genuinely off the pace after so much monotony of watching them at the front. A change of scenery is always good! Also… those smug ‘we all know Mercedes will be at the front when the season starts, they were obviously sandbagging in testing’ comments that were on most F1 sites a few weeks ago have dried up very quickly!

      1. It is more Ross Brawn’s achievements. Wolff and the team were great about maintaining the advantage they inherited, but the platform was all Brawn. He’s done a similarly genius job with the new ground effects platform.

        1. No one is taking the bait!

        2. No– Brawn wasn’t even listed as a “designer” on the W05. He was team principal by that time, and Mercedes had a pretty massive team of designers, engineers and aerodynamicists working on the car at that time.

      2. Yes, after the huge amount of lies coming from mercedes involved people, wolff especially, it was completely impossible for me and many others to believe they were in trouble till we saw it, and then again mercedes was also impressive so far in solving their issues in the past seasons, so I’m not gonna exclude a competitive comeback from them, then fighting for the title depends on when the performance to fight comes back.

    10. Time to put the cue in the rack Mercedes.

    11. A remarkable team. Highly competitive excellent car and engine manufacturer. Unprecedented dominance streak during the entire V6 hybrid era. And then they threw everything away in a single season 2021. Their sportsmanship, their winning and apparently the development of the new car. What on earth happened within that team in 2021? Massive meltdown.

      1. I still can’t believe they went ahead and behaved as they did after the championship was done. Expressing you are feeling hard done is one thing, but going as far as devaluing the platform you work on (F1) is lunacy. Imagine every team questioning the integrity of the sport every time a decision was against them…

        Regardless of who everyone supports, it’s way out of line and many steps too far. I don’t even want to get how smart it is to be a team Principal and burn the bridges with Verstappen.

        1. Indeed. I really would like to know one day what has been going on there in the heads of some people and also how the board of Daimler Mercedes Benz perceived all these developments. I can not imagine last season added anything to the brand to be honest and that is despite them winning the WCC.

        2. The platform brought itself into disrepute..and frankly admitted as much after an intensive investigation. What you are suggesting is Mercedes should have just toed the initial company line which was ” nothing to see here”. I think they handled themselves with remarkable restraint considering the circumstances.

    12. It’s not a second per lap. Charles and Max were pushing all the way, while Russel was driving around in no-mans-land conserving his tires with little to no threat from the rear. He finished 21s behind Perez and 23s clear from Ocon.

      From the gap to Perez/Sainz over 50 laps, half a second slower sounds a lot more likely.

      1. “So when I look at the result, we finished 30 seconds behind, I think that’s probably 30 laps after the safety car, a second a lap. That’s how far we were behind in qualifying, as well.”

        I think you have forgotten about the cars being bunched back up with 30 laps to go, as GR points out. As well, he’s not concerned about how close he got to SP (who had bad luck with his pit being followed immediately by the safety car)…he’s targeting how far up the road the winner was. And I’m not sure what you are basing your assumption on that GR was just trundling along conserving tires. Personally if I was him and the team I’d be having him pushing as hard as possible for the sake of the R&D, as I’m not sure what trundling along would teach them.

        Sounds like you’re trying to do some creative accounting by forgetting about the safety car, and by making SP GR’s target not the winner, and by touting 23 seconds clear of Ocon. They won’t be patting themselves on the back for being 23 seconds clear of Ocon. Nor for being 30 seconds behind the winner.

        1. You have a point on being pushed up after the SC. However my point other points are I think still valid:

          – Being x seconds behind RB is not the same as being x seconds behind the front RB since there are two RB cars. In this case it would make more sense to take the slower one as a yardstick, since if George had been able to catch up toCheco, it would already show the Merc car could be as fast as the RB car.

          – Drivers in no-mans-land indeed do not push as hard. It is a risk-reward situation. Pushlaps are risky (especially so in Jeddah) so why do it if there is no reason to? He had no chance at catching Perez, and conversely no need to worry about Ocon. Doing pushlaps in this situation would quite simply be dumb.
          I never said they were ‘patting themselves on the back’ on the gap to Ocon or anything like that.

          1. But the point being GR was not even able to catch up to the perhaps not slower RBR car but the one that got set back because of the safety car timing and his pit right before that. I just think that GR himself would not be relying on what he could to do about the RBR car that was closer to him, but rather with the leading RBR car, for I don’t think GR would really care if all he can do is sometimes fight for thirds. It is about winning races and Championships and then failing that the placing matters much less, albeit of course they’re always trying to grab as many points as possible. Again I don’t see anyone at Mercedes patting themselves on the back for where they finished.

            I get what you are saying about drivers in no-mans-land not needing to push, but as I said my points was that if I was them and they need to experiment as much as possible since they are clearly not in the fight right now, I would have had GR pushing anyway, for the sake of the R&D, for what do they have to lose? They’re not in race winning mode anyway. That is why I was saying that for their particular situation, they might as well push as trundling along surely won’t teach them much. In fact, I just read an article elsewhere this morning saying basically what I am saying. There is a gulf between them and the two front running teams, but there is also a gulf to the mid-field behind them, so that are somewhat on their own right now to experiment, and to me that is exactly what they should be doing, and just sitting there conserving in no-mans-land is not to me at least a useful experiment. I know you weren’t saying they were patting themselves on the back for being 23 seconds ahead of Ocon.

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