Mercedes intrigued by drop in Miami Grand Prix performance
Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott admitted the team was trying to figure out why its performance in Miami had slowed over the weekend.
The team appeared to be in the frame to take on Ferrari and Red Bull after strong performances in Friday practice, with George Russell taking the top spot in FP2, but their performance against the leaders fell apart in qualifying, with Lewis Hamilton taking sixth place on the grid and Russell having been eliminated in Q2.
Russell took advantage of the last safety car to make a “cheap” pitstop and, after passing Hamilton, took the P5 under the checkered flag, just ahead of his teammate.
It may have represented a solid comeback for the defending constructors’ champions, but they wondered what could have been – and Elliott didn’t know how this drop in performance happened.
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“That’s a very good question and it’s a question we’re trying to answer right now,” Elliott said during Mercedes’ post-race debriefing.
“I think if you were to watch Friday’s race, it was probably the most competitive we’ve been at any time this season so far.
“Between Friday and Saturday we will have made some changes and in fact those changes were quite minor, but there have also been changes in the conditions and we have to go through all this data, extract as much understanding from it as possible and use it to move forward in the next two races.
The car’s design came under intense scrutiny to determine how hard drivers found the W13 to control, especially with the amount of porpoises present at high speeds.
This “twist” didn’t seem so obvious to the naked eye in Miami, as Mercedes brought new front, rear and beam fenders with them to Florida.
Team boss Toto Wolff said there would be an “easy way out” of their current situation by changing the philosophy of the car to offer more basic design solutions.
He remains convinced that their current concept could be the way forward as he feels there is more pace to be found in the W13, with further improvements expected to be made at the Spanish Grand Prix at the weekend. next.