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Mercedes share how Hamilton intervened amid recent car upgrade dilemma

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 25: Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Great Britain talks to the press

Lewis Hamilton suggested that George Russell should debut Mercedes’ latest upgrade at the Monaco Grand Prix, given only one set was available, according to the team’s Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin.

In addition to a circuit-specific, high-downforce rear wing, Mercedes brought a new floor body and front wing to the streets of Monte Carlo, but the latter development was only sampled by Russell because just one set had been created.

READ MORE: Wolff responds to Hamilton’s comments about Russell qualifying ahead of him

In Mercedes’ post-Monaco Grand Prix debrief, Shovlin explained the thinking behind the decision, with both drivers previously raising the idea of splitting updates to learn as much as possible about the W15, though the situation did not arise until last time out in the Principality.

Addressing why only Russell had the new parts, Shovlin said: “We are looking to have race quantities of that wing [for the next Grand Prix] in Montreal and normally you would say race quantities is at least three because you have got one for each car and then you have got a spare available should anything happen.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG

Only Russell ran the new Mercedes front wing in Monaco

“We do not make three in one go. We make the first, then the second, then the third. An upshot of that was that we had one that we could bring to Monaco and have it ready for Friday to do the weekend.

“A while ago, the drivers asked why we always wait until we have got a full set. Why not just let one of us run it? We agreed with them that given the situation with the team in terms of performance, we need to improve, and we need to learn. It is quite good to have different specs on the car to do that.

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“We did agree with the drivers that where we are now, we will be happy to bring one to the track and they were both happy with that. The difficult question was how do we decide who was going to run it?

“Lewis said, if we are going to start doing this where we have not got enough parts, let George run it in Monaco, there will be races in the future where we have a single update and of course we just alternate from here on in. But Lewis made that decision quite simple for us.”

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Both Mercedes drivers are set to run the new front wing in Canada

As for how the latest upgrade performed, Shovlin shared that while the early signs were promising, a full picture will be painted at the Canadian and Spanish Grands Prix, where the circuits are faster and more flowing.

“There is a reason teams do not normally bring update kits to Monaco, which is the very low speed nature of the circuit,” Shovlin continued. “The fact it is so busy, the short straights, it is very hard to actually evaluate anything.

READ MORE: Russell shares why Mercedes are feeling ‘very confident’ for 2026 power unit regulations

“All the data we have seen though, says that it was delivering performance, it was bringing a benefit in terms of how the car was feeling. George was happy with that, and he could feel that it was a step in the right direction.

“We are happy with what we have seen to date, but we will learn more in Montreal and then particularly when you get to a track like Barcelona with a wider corner speed range, you can really start to learn about it there.”

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