Mercedes: Long runs strong, ‘more work to do’ on single lap pace


Despite promising long-run performance, Mercedes admits its needs to unlock more single-lap pace from its new W15 car ahead of next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The majority of the Brackley squad’s work during this week’s three days of pre-season testing at Sakhir focused on car stability over performance, an approach that confirmed that much of the defects embedded in last year’s car had been ironed out.

Mercedes’ efforts yielded encouraging results, with George Russell's third fastest lap time overall – achieved on the C4 soft compound – suggesting strong potential for race pace.

However, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin acknowledges the need for further development in single-lap pace.

"We're still trying to fine-tune the set-up, there will definitely be more to come," Shovlin said in a Mercedes social media debrief.

"Overall we're happy, we definitely made progress. In terms of pace, the long run probably looks like our strength at the moment.

"There's more work to do on a single lap, but we should be in a position to hopefully put in a good showing when we get back on track."

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Both Lewis Hamilton and Russell grappled with unpredictable and "vicious" handling, far removed from the team's dominant past. Their car’s erratic behavior hampered performance and left the drivers yearning for stability.

Recognizing this crucial need, Mercedes prioritized consistent and compliant handling in the development of its W15 car, and the team’s efforts in this area have been very productive, as highlighted by Russell's confident declaration that his car is "no longer a diva”.

"It's really encouraging that a lot of the problems that the drivers have been talking about the last 12 and even 24 months with W13 and W14, we seem to have got to grips with," Shovlin added.

"It's much more enjoyable to drive," Hamilton confirmed. "We still also have time to find, but I think Red Bull clearly are out in the distance. But I think it's a good platform to work from this year."

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