News

Mercedes W15 ‘not the evil sister’ of previous cars as Hamilton and Russell voice confidence in its potential

Share
hamilton-comp-2024-23-22.png

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton have expressed optimism that there will be much more to come from Mercedes as the 2024 season develops, saying the W15 has shown signs of being a “genuinely quick” car with “a lot of potential”.

Mercedes entered the year looking to right the wrongs of 2022 and 2023, with the Silver Arrows so far struggling to make an impact under F1’s latest ground effect era and scoring just one win across those two campaigns.

READ MORE: Perez admits it would be ‘a blow for the team’ if Verstappen leaves Red Bull amid driver market rumours

After plenty of changes to their package over the winter, the early signs were encouraging as Hamilton and Russell topped the first day of practice at the Bahrain opener and the latter secured a spot on the second row of the grid, only falling out of podium contention on race day amid car cooling issues.

While Mercedes found the second round of the season at Saudi Arabia’s ultra-fast Jeddah Corniche Circuit more challenging, losing out to Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin across qualifying and the race, both drivers feel they have a strong base to work with in the W15 and expect to unlock more performance in due course.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas

Russell qualified third at the Bahrain opener and was in the mix for a podium early on

“I think you’ve only got to look at the potential and the performance we showed in FP1 and FP2 in the last two races,” said Russell. “We were genuinely quick and the performance went away from us into qualifying – we have some ideas why that may have been.

“I think it’s also important just to remember we’ve only done three days of practice, and two races, and I think if you compare that to a football team – if they’ve done three days of training together the first two games of the season they’ll still be understanding how to get the most out of each other and maximise the team.

READ MORE: Sainz shares recovery update ahead of return to action in Australia after doing ‘as much as possible’

“So, that’s sort of where we’re standing right now and it’s so close out there between the four teams after Red Bull, so it can easily swing.”

Hamilton, who will head to Ferrari at the end of the season, echoed Russell’s comments as he denied that Mercedes are dealing with a car as challenging as its W14 and W13 predecessors.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG

Saudi Arabia was more challenging for Mercedes, with Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin all proving faster

“It’s definitely not the evil sister or anything like that,” the seven-time world champion stressed. “I think we have an amazing car and there’s a lot of potential in it, and I think we just haven’t maximised it through set-up and through, ultimately, mistakes.

“We were obviously not happy with the performance of those first couple of races but I think there’s a lot more potential in it that we haven’t quite extracted yet. That’s what everyone’s focus is on, just trying to understand the car, and we’re hoping this weekend is a step forward.

READ MORE: Magnussen admits 10-year wait for podium return ‘frustrating’ as he reflects on maiden debut rostrum in Australia

“A huge amount of work has gone on – everyone’s heads are down in the numbers and I feel positive for this weekend. We’ve had two not such great races but there’s a long way ahead.”

Mercedes sit fourth in the constructors’ standings on 26 points ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, two behind McLaren, 23 behind Ferrari and 61 adrift of leaders Red Bull.

Share

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

Video

WATCH: Ride onboard with Leclerc for the fastest lap of Friday practice at Imola