After eight consecutive constructors’ titles, Mercedes entered the 2022 Formula 1 season with many doubts after being one of the last teams to make the development transition from the 2021 car to the current W13.
Despite being one of the great pre-season sensations with two different car concepts, especially in the Bahrain tests, where they landed with a revolutionary single-seater “without pontoons” that soon struck fear into the bodies of all their rivals, the results have been very far from what was expected, in fact, so far this year, they have not achieved any victory yet.
After a series of steps forward to better understand a problematic W13, the German team improved their feelings and also their results in the second half of the campaign, a progress that continues in these last rounds of the year and that it seems that this weekend , at the Mexican Grand Prix, has reached its peak.
In Mexico City, George Russell led Free Practice 2 and, although it was highly unrepresentative due to Pirelli tire testing for 2023, the Briton confirmed that the feeling was so good that Mercedes’ minimum goal should be a podium finish .
“Today was one of our best Fridays, if not the best of the year so far: the car is working well and we feel comfortable at this circuit.”
“The pace was relatively good, but we are aware of the challenges of this circuit. For qualifying, the difficulty will be getting the tires into the correct operating window in a single lap.”
“And on Sunday it will be difficult to control the temperature of the engine and the brakes. A podium should be possible this weekend, so that is what we are going to look for at the very least,” said the Englishman.
However, there is something that seems to worry the pilot of the silver star team. The management and degradation of the tires continues to be a weak point for the peculiar W13 and, in a circuit like the Autodromo de los Hermanos Rodríguez and after an FP2 in which they could not test the tires as they would have liked, that could be accentuated.
“Not having a normal FP2, we don’t know how our rivals are performing in long runs, so we also don’t know where we are compared to them and that can be a problem during the race if we struggle with the tyres.
“We’ve learned some useful lessons about tire temperature management that we’ll apply for next year, so we’re going to have to work really hard here, because it’s not going to be an easy weekend in that sense for sure.” Russell concluded.