RACE DEBRIEF

    Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has warned that there is no “magic fix” to the team’s 2022 issues, as they prepare for the third race of the season in Melbourne.

    Though Lewis Hamilton scored a podium in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix (amid a double retirement for rivals Red Bull), the Saudi Arabian round was the first not to feature a Mercedes in the top five on the grid since the 2013 Italian Grand Prix – while Lewis Hamilton suffered his first performance-related Q1 elimination since 2009.

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    The team have been honest in their assessment of their performance struggles, which appear to centre around being unable to run the W13 at its optimum ride height without suffering from ‘porpoising’, or bouncing. Wolff was realistic about where the team stood before round three.

    “We are in a learning race and the first two weekends have shown we still have plenty to learn,” said Wolff ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. “At the moment, our track performance is not meeting our own expectations, but everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is focused on understanding the problems and finding the right solutions.

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    Mercedes are one point ahead of Red Bull in the standings but finished well behind their rivals in Saudi Arabia

    “There won’t be a magic fix for the next race weekend,” Wolff added, “but we’re pushing to steadily bring gains over the upcoming races, to hopefully move us closer to the front of the pack. Until then, we need to maximise each opportunity and make the most of the package we have.”

    Wolff added that his refreshed 2022 driver line-up of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had their role to play in the W13’s development – with Hamilton having famously increased his participation in Mercedes’ simulator programme back in 2021 to help push forward the developments that ultimately netted Mercedes a record-extending eighth-straight constructors’ crown.

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    “Lewis and George are making an important contribution to the overall effort,” said Wolff, “providing feedback, spending time in the simulator and working together to help push us forward.

    “So, there are various challenges ahead of us,” he added, “but that’s something we relish, and is when a team really shows its true spirit.”

    2022

    Constructors’ standings ahead of Melbourne

    POSITION POINTS
    1 Ferrari Ferrari Ferrari 78
    2 Mercedes Mercedes Mercedes 38
    3 Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing Red Bull Racing 37
    4 Alpine Alpine Alpine 16
    5 Haas F1 Team Haas F1 Team Haas F1 Team 12
    6 Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 9
    7 AlphaTauri AlphaTauri AlphaTauri 8
    8 McLaren McLaren McLaren 6
    9 Aston Martin Aston Martin Aston Martin
    10 Williams Williams Williams

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