Mercedes: "Unknown" how much we've recovered after testing

Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes does not know if it has recovered any performance in its work to understand the car handling issues it suffered in 2021 Formula 1 pre-season testing.

Mercedes had a surprisingly difficult test at the Bahrain track earlier this month, finishing with the lowest lap count of any team after losing the opening morning to a gearbox issue and then Lewis Hamilton spinning off on the second day.

Hamilton's off was put down to a rear-handling weakness the Mercedes drivers encountered with the W12 in testing, with the world champion also spinning late in the final session as he prepared to conduct a qualifying simulation run.

Mercedes ended up with the fifth-fastest testing time, while its front-running rival Red Bull topped the times and had a smooth test overall with a package Mercedes called "planted" in comparison to its own.

When asked if Mercedes had understood what went wrong with its car handling in testing during the pre-event press conference for the season-opening Bahrain GP, Bottas said: "We struggled quite a bit for sure, but it was also pretty extreme conditions overall.

"It was really windy which makes it quite hard to understand the changes you're making and it compromises the run. It makes it even harder to understand and to learn in those conditions.

"But yeah, the fact is we struggled with the car balance.

"We always want more performance than we have currently overall both from the car side and chassis and aero side, and from the humans in the team.

"The team has been really flat out and understanding everything from the test and making sure that at least approaching this weekend we hopefully are going to start, in theory, in the best place with the set-up and everything.

"It's unknown how much we've recovered from testing and how much performance we gained by learning [in the days since].

"That's something we're going to learn hopefully in practice and at the latest on Saturday and Sunday.

"But at least I know that the team has done everything we can in the short time but the season is so long so there's no reason to panic, we just need to work hard."

Read Also:

Hamilton outlined his thoughts that Mercedes is still "in the early phases" of understanding how to get the W12 handling best.

"We've tried to understand naturally, in terms of quantifying how big or small an issue we may or may not have," he said.

"Everyone on the ground here, all the engineers and also the aerodynamicists – particularly back at the factory – have been working around the clock to rectify any normal things that happen with a new car and new regulation shifts.

"I'm fully confident that in the short space of time [since the test] that they've done the absolute best, but it's going to be a continued hustle to get the car to be where we want it to be."

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton will continue to kneel in F1 2021

Previous article

Hamilton will continue to kneel in F1 2021

Next article

Bahrain GP: Latest F1 2021 technical developments

Bahrain GP: Latest F1 2021 technical developments
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas , Lewis Hamilton
Teams Mercedes
Author Alex Kalinauckas
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021