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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Mercedes admits F1 upgrade ‘rush’ prompted some worries

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff thinks it critical his team understands why its new Formula 1 upgrade works so well after admitting the “rush” to introduce it triggered concerns.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523

The German manufacturer produced a notable step forward in form at the Spanish Grand Prix, as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished second and third behind race-winner Max Verstappen

The potential of its revamped car, which features new sidepods, front suspension and floor, is clear to see, as the squad targets making further steps to try to close the gap to Red Bull. 

But Wolff thinks it important that Mercedes’ designers now take stock of the current package and fully understand it, before getting ahead of themselves with more changes.

Speaking to Motorsport.com about the plans to bring more performance to the car, Wolff admitted that the fast-tracking of the upgrades had prompted some questions that needed addressing. 

In particular, he has suggested that the speed by which Mercedes committed to bringing the changes meant that the team was not able to do as much analysis of the tweaks as it would perhaps do with more regular updates. 

“We just need to continue to grind away because it's not so much about how quick it is, it's about how good our understanding is,” he said. 

“We've been rushing things over the last two months, and that worried us because it was a little bit circumventing the process. But so far it has paid off.” 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 2nd position, sprays George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, with Champagne on the podium

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 2nd position, sprays George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, with Champagne on the podium

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Wolff also thinks it would be wrong of Mercedes to get complacent and believe that the Spanish GP potential is proof that it is now well on course to beat Red Bull. 

While he is confident the situation is different to 12 months ago, when a Spanish GP step forward in pace did not follow through to subsequent races, he does not want to get too carried away with things just yet. 

“We need to manage our own expectations,” he said. “We were really upset in [Spanish GP] qualifying because we believed P2/P3 was in, and it wasn't. 

“So I don't want to go to Canada and say that's another second and third there because it could as easily be a fifth and sixth. There is more to understand.” 

Hamilton is quite bullish though that the performance in Spain does look like a genuine indicator of where Mercedes is at, even though it still faces a tough challenge from Aston Martin and Ferrari

“They normally say if you’re quick in Barcelona then the car should generally be good everywhere, and I think we will be strong in the next races,” he explained. 

“There will be times when the Aston may be slightly ahead, or the Ferrari maybe is ahead. But I think our race pace continues to be a strength of ours, as it was last year.  

“I think this weekend particularly, we’ve understood the car even more. So, I think we can count on that being strong moving forward. We’ve just got to try to lift the overall performance of the car a little bit more to try to close the gap to these guys [Red Bull].”

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