Aston Martin was taken aback by the impressive performance of the Mercedes F1 team, which resembled a “rocket ship,” during the Spanish Grand Prix. Despite Max Verstappen’s dominant victory, Lewis Hamilton led his teammate George Russell to secure a double podium finish for Mercedes, overtaking Aston Martin in the constructors’ standings. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished sixth, with the home crowd favorite Fernando Alonso in seventh.
Considering that the AMR23 had often been the second-fastest car behind the Red Bull RB19 in the earlier races of the season, the Silverstone-based team was surprised to find itself trailing the exceptional pace of the “rocket ship” Silver Arrows while also struggling to match Ferrari’s performance.
Stroll expressed his surprise, stating, “[Mercedes] had a rocket ship. I’m not sure where they found that pace. I expected us to be the strongest car after Red Bull based on our performance throughout the season, but we simply didn’t have it. We faced significant tire degradation and struggled to keep up with the pace of Mercedes and Ferrari. Red Bull is in a league of its own. We just couldn’t match them.”
The alteration to the Barcelona circuit, with the removal of the final chicane, was well-received by drivers. However, this modification eliminated a slow-speed section and a crucial acceleration zone, where the AMR23 had excelled in the past. Furthermore, the increased speeds through the faster final corner resulted in Aston Martin lagging behind in the speed traps, as their package proved to be draggy at times.
Nevertheless, Stroll attributed the competitive gap between Aston Martin and Mercedes primarily to the management of the Pirelli tires. When asked about the issues they faced, he responded, “It was mainly tire degradation. Mercedes did an excellent job of preserving their tires. At the beginning of the race, I comfortably maintained a gap to Carlos Sainz, even pulling away from Lewis a bit. However, after about five laps, our tires began to degrade significantly, and I could feel the drop-off. Mercedes seemed to handle their tires flawlessly throughout the race, and they had a really strong car today.”
In an interesting moment during the race, Alonso radioed the team to inform them that he would not attempt to challenge Stroll as they approached the final laps. Stroll interpreted this as Alonso playing a team game, stating, “We were running in sixth and seventh positions, focused on bringing the car home and thinking about the constructors’ championship. We have great respect for each other as teammates, and our goal is to score as many points as possible for the team. In such situations, it’s not worth risking an accident over minor points. It’s more important to finish the race without damage. The hardworking people at the factory deserve that.”
Overall, Aston Martin was taken aback by the outstanding performance of Mercedes, struggled to match their pace, and encountered tire degradation issues during the Spanish Grand Prix. The team focused on securing valuable points for the constructors’ championship and valued a collaborative approach between their drivers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mercedes F1 performance
Q: What was Aston Martin’s reaction to Mercedes’ performance in the Spanish GP?
A: Aston Martin was surprised by the outstanding performance of Mercedes in the Spanish GP. They were shocked by the “rocket ship” pace of the Silver Arrows and struggled to match it. Aston Martin expected to be the strongest car after Red Bull but couldn’t keep up with Mercedes and Ferrari. They attributed their competitive slip to tire degradation and acknowledged Mercedes’ excellent tire management.