Mercedes is yet to win a race in the 2022 Formula 1 season after fierce fighting between Ferrari and Red Bull, despite the Italians becoming deflated as tests passed. Both teams were ahead of the Silver Arrows at the start of the season, but after battling porpoising in the W13, Brackley’s have moved closer to the top, even taking pole position with George Russell in Hungary and add podiums in eight of the last nine grands prix.
The Englishman himself managed to be third in Monza despite the problems of Mercedes to match the top speed on the legendary track, and admitted that Ferrari “surprised” him with his pace, which caused a “lonely race” that made him happy for do away with low-downforce circuits.
“Our car was not performing at its best on this track,” the Briton said after the Italian event. “I think we have a good idea why that is, and [we’re] somewhat happy that these low-downforce, high-speed circuits have been left behind.”
Mercedes has tended to perform better on high-load tracks this season, as was shown at the Hungaroring or Zandvoort, as, in addition to first place on Saturday in Hungary, they were fighting for victory in the Netherlands before a car from safety will play against Russell and Lewis Hamilton.
The strengths of the German car bode well for the next series of tracks, starting with the Singapore street circuit in early October. Asked if he thought Marina Bay would offer Mercedes more opportunities, the young Englishman said there was “no doubt” about Monza, but he remained wary of a bumpy site.
“On paper, Singapore should suit our car,” explained Russell. “But when we look back at places like Monaco or Azerbaijan, our car doesn’t handle potholes too well, so we’re not quite sure how we’ll do.”
“We have to keep pushing, keep improving the car. I’m happy that now we have a clear direction in which we have to go,” said the driver of the Brackley team.
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