George Russell, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2022

Mercedes expect Abu Dhabi will be “much more difficult” after breakthrough win

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Mercedes predict it will be difficult to repeat their breakthrough Brazilian Grand Prix victory in this weekend’s season finale.

The team locked out the front row of the grand prix grid at Interlagos and claimed a one-two in the race, led by George Russell.

However the first-time race winner suspects the team won’t be as competitive on the Yas Marina as they were at Interlagos.

“Going into Abu Dhabi I think we’ll probably be similar to, my gut is saying, Ferrari. I think maybe a small step behind Red Bull.”

Mercedes also had strong pace at the previous grand prix in Mexico, but compromised their performance in the race by picking harder compound tyres than rivals Red Bull.

“I think the last two races have been quite slow-speed circuits and that’s where we’ve sort of excelled this season,” said Russell. “But the progress we’ve made as a team has just been unbelievable.

“Since Austin we’ve, as a team, fought for victory, or had the possibility for victory, every single race. So the boost it’s given all of us and the confidence it’s given everybody back at the factory, the factory is going to be pumping over the winter.

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Race start, Interlagos, 2022
Poll: Rate the race: 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix
“We’re going to be giving everything we’ve got to come out in that very first test with a car that that can compete from race one.”

Team principal Toto Wolff also doubts the Yas Marina circuit will suit the Mercedes W13. “I think Abu Dhabi on paper is much more difficult for us also because we are still too draggy,” he said. “But we know why.”

“I think we know why we were better [here],” he added. “Do we know why we were so far ahead of everyone this weekend? We don’t.”

Lewis Hamilton, who took second after losing time in a collision with Max Verstappen, said the team’s improvement in recent races was “a great, great sign”.

“For a long, long period of time, we couldn’t really, truly understand what the problem was or how to fix it,” he admitted.

“And it was difficult, because we kept trying and trying and trying and every time something new came, we still had the problems we had.

“So this is really, really huge. We know where our North Star is, we know where we need to put all our efforts in to this winter. I’m so proud of the team for all the incredible hard work.”

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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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9 comments on “Mercedes expect Abu Dhabi will be “much more difficult” after breakthrough win”

  1. Oh yes, I truly believe what Toto and his drivers said, Mercedes are perennial underdogs:

    Toto Wolff says even a team such as Williams cannot be discounted from coming up with a Mercedes-beating 2019 Formula 1 car, amid fears of loopholes in the new regulations

    Ever since Toto joined the team in 2013 they are lying all the time, but of course British media don’t call them out or hold them accountable for their words.

    1. In this case at sealevel i think they are right they will be behind the other 2 teams.

    2. Aren’t you tiered mate? So much hate for Merc and effort to express it… Why?

    3. @armchairexpert Do you want some twisted to go with that bitter?

    4. Do you mistake Merc for RBR?

    5. Jeffrey Powell
      16th November 2022, 22:20

      Let’s hope you are correct and Mercedes are really back to and beyond there vastly superior performance to Red Bull ,perhaps they will lap little Maxi ,giving him the opportunity to throw his steering wheel out of his fizzy drinks trolley. I am not sure you fully realize Red Bull F1 is a totally British Team and of course Mr Spice Girl is 110% truthful at all times proving that the British Press is always totally even handed.

  2. Reminds me of the 2019 car, their best car in race trim and the best of the entire field during that season, but with a lot of drag.

  3. I don’t think we have ever heard something like this from a Mercedes driver :-)
    …. “Do we know why we were so far ahead of everyone this weekend? We don’t.”……..

    1. Mind you, maybe previous years they knew why they were so much quicker than everyone but weren’t going to admit it.

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