Hamilton and Russell pay tribute to Schumacher for simulator work that contributed to double podium in Spain
Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have paid tribute to the work done by the team’s reserve driver Mick Schumacher in the simulator to help get the W14 in “the right window” ahead of their double-podium outing in Barcelona.
Hamilton and Russell finished in second and third respectively but, after struggling with the car on Friday, there were doubts, in particular from the seven-time world champion, as to whether they could make it into Q3.
But the Silver Arrows showed a better turn of pace on Saturday – despite Russell only qualifying in 12th – and were able to translate that speed into Sunday, leaving both Hamilton and Russell to praise the contribution of Schumacher to their turn around.
“The car felt great [on Sunday],” said Hamilton. “Friday was a real struggle with the balance, it was way out of the window. It was very hard to drive, very unpredictable. And then we did some great work overnight.
“We’ve got a great team, with Mick back in the simulator on Friday night and he did some great work, which helped us get on the right track on Saturday. I think we did pretty decent work in trying to understand the different downforce levels.
“And in the race [on Sunday] the car felt great. But honestly, I just couldn't match the times that Max [Verstappen] was doing. And for George to come from 12th to third is just remarkable. So, really awesome result for us as a team.”
Asked if the car in Spain was the best performing machinery they had driven since the start of the 2022, Hamilton said: Yeah, for me, definitely the best car’s been the past year and a half.
“So that's kudos to the amazing group of people we have back at the factory who continue to work hard and push the car forward. So, it felt the best this weekend; it felt the best yesterday and today than it's felt for the past 14/15 months, whatever it is.
“And so that's super encouraging, I think not only for me but for everybody in the team. This will be a big boost for everybody's morale. And we're going to take that energy on to developing the car.”
“The car naturally feels really, really strong,” added Russell. “A lot of these new circuits with the new tarmac and when you go to a track like here or Bahrain, there's a lot of tyre deg.
“Today, it probably felt the best it's ever felt around Barcelona because of the cooler conditions. But definitely this season, probably the best it's felt, the most together it's felt and as Lewis said, the team’s done a really, really great job.
“The work that Mick and the simulator team are doing overnight, they were there well past midnight to help us with the setup and get it in a good window for the race today.
“So, we are making strides in the right direction. We just need to make sure, especially into next year, that we hit the ground running because I think we as a team probably develop faster than anybody else.”