Auger-Aliassime bumps slump to beat qualifier at Barcelona Open
Mercedes will work flat out over Formula One’s April break to give Lewis Hamilton and George Russell a more balanced car, with improved suspension, the team’s chief technical officer James Allison stated last Thursday.
The sport has a big gap in the calendar, due to the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix, until racing resumes in Azerbaijan on April 30.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who gave the team a first podium of the season with second place in Australia on Sunday, has stated he does not “feel connected” to the car. Russell has referred to it as a “lame horse.
“We are working as hard as we can in the wind tunnel to find more downforce, we will be working as hard as we can in the drawing office to convert the things that the wind tunnel found a few weeks ago into performance that we deliver to the track,” Allison said in a team debrief.
“We will be working in the drawing office also to bring some mechanical parts to the car, some different suspension components that we think will help the underlying balance of the car and make it a more driveable thing.”
The fourth race of the season in Baku will be the first of six sprint weekends this year with plans under discussion to limit practice to just one Friday session. Allison said it would be important to hit the ground running.
“Sprint races really reward the teams that can land there with a starting setup that is pretty on the money and ready to go in qualifying because the time is really compressed in a sprint race weekend,” he added
Sunday was bittersweet for Mercedes, with Hamilton on the podium but Russell suffering a mechanical failure after a promising start from the front row.
Hamilton also led briefly before Red Bull’s Verstappen powered past with the use of DRS (drag reduction) and went on to win, but the Briton beat Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.
Allison felt the team had closed the gap slightly to Red Bull and might be ahead of Ferrari and Aston Martin on performance but it was hard to say whether the gain was real.
“We’ll go to some more very different tracks in the next few weeks and we’ll see whether this was the sort of initial bellwether of general uptick in our performance which we hope for, or whether it was related to the quite unusual track conditions,” he stated.