Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia
Formula 1 Spanish GP

Why Mercedes feels it is closer to the top than it looked in F1's Spanish GP

Mercedes thinks Lewis Hamilton could have ended Formula 1’s Spanish GP nearer Red Bull/McLaren

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15, leads Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15, leads Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Mercedes says its deficit to Red Bull and McLaren in Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix does not show the true picture of its potential.

Lewis Hamilton delivered his first non-sprint podium of the season in Spain, as he finished third behind Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

But while the top duo were separated by just 2.2 seconds at the end, Hamilton ended up a further 15 seconds back – suggesting there is still some serious room for improvement.

However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says that the final result is not indicative of what his squad can deliver because Hamilton backed off in the closing stages.

That was because there was no point in him pushing, as he was unable to challenge the cars ahead and was safe from behind as team-mate George Russell was struggling on the slower hard tyres.

Analysis of his times showed that while there was little separating Hamilton and Norris in ultimate pace terms during the first two stints, the Mercedes driver was considerably slower in the final run on softs.

Having dropped to three-or-four-tenths off Norris in the early stages of that stint, that gap opened up to be more than one second per lap at times as Hamilton brought it home.

Speaking about the Mercedes performance, Wolff said: "When you look where we ended up, obviously George on the hard was the wrong strategy. Clearly that was on the team, and we had a slow stop with three seconds.

"But if you look at where Lewis was, 15 seconds behind the leaders while taking the pace out of the end, so maybe call that 10 seconds - that's much closer.

"They weren't holding back Max and Norris. So yeah, it's a reason to be carefully optimistic that we are much closer, and we'll be able to fight."

Hamilton's podium came after what was Mercedes' most competitive outing of the year, with the German manufacturer locking out the second row of the grid and finishing third and fourth in the race ahead of Ferrari.

Wolff is under no doubt, however, that Red Bull and McLaren are in a class of their own right now.

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro

"The McLaren looked very quick," said Wolff. "How quick? I think Max always has a little bit in his pocket and you can see that he makes the difference.

"Definitely these two at the moment, there's not a lot between them. They are definitely setting the benchmark."

He also feels that the reality of Mercedes' gap to the front is that it is just more than a couple of tenths adrift of them.

"I think what you've seen [in qualifying and the race] is that the gap is probably around three-tenths to these two," he explained. "That's what's missing.

"If we're able to bridge that, bearing in mind they also put upgrades on the car, I think, then we could be racing for victory. But that's not on the hands yet.

"Montreal, with the conditions, yeah, we could have won. But probably we surprised ourselves that we could, and that's why we dropped the ball there."

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article McLaren: Norris could have done nothing more to win F1 Spanish GP
Next article Ricciardo: No need to revert RB F1 upgrades yet after Spain shocker

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Australia Australia