Hamilton and Russell faced a challenging start to their practice sessions at Barcelona while Mercedes finally had the opportunity to properly test their new W14 upgrade package.
The difficulties were so severe that Hamilton doubted his chances of making it to Q3 in qualifying due to the car’s challenging handling.
Fortunately, a late-night simulator session conducted by Schumacher at Mercedes’ Brackley factory on Friday proved to be the breakthrough the team needed to fine-tune their setup. This breakthrough ultimately paved the way for their first double podium finish of the season.
In the aftermath of the race, Hamilton, who secured second place, credited Schumacher for delivering the progress Mercedes desperately required after the initial practice day.
Hamilton explained, “Friday was extremely tough in terms of balance. It was completely off, making it very challenging and unpredictable to drive. However, we made significant improvements overnight.”
He further praised the team’s efforts, particularly the contributions of Mick in the simulator on Friday night. Mick’s work played a crucial role in putting them on the right track for Saturday.
Russell, starting from 12th on the grid and finishing third, noted that from Saturday onwards, the Mercedes car felt exceptionally impressive around Barcelona, despite some handling issues during qualifying.
“In these cooler conditions, the car felt better than ever around Barcelona,” he remarked. “This season, it’s definitely the most cohesive it has felt.”
Russell commended the remarkable work done by Mick and the overnight simulator team, who worked past midnight to fine-tune the setup and ensure a favorable position for the race.
“We are undoubtedly progressing in the right direction,” Russell added. “Looking ahead to next year, we need to hit the ground running because I believe our team’s development pace is among the fastest.”
Hamilton expressed his satisfaction with the recent car changes, as Mercedes abandoned its zero pod concept. He believed the car had now reached its peak in the current ground effect era.
“Undoubtedly, this is the best the car has been in the past year and a half,” Hamilton acknowledged. “It’s a testament to the incredible group of individuals at our factory who continue to work tirelessly and drive the car forward.”
He further emphasized that the car’s performance during the weekend, including qualifying and the race, surpassed the past 14 to 15 months.
This success provided a significant morale boost for everyone in the team, and Hamilton expressed enthusiasm for carrying this energy forward into further car development.
Schumacher is set to test Mercedes’ current F1 car for the first time during the post-race tire testing session in Barcelona, conducted by the team on behalf of Pirelli this week.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Spanish GP turnaround
What was the role of Schumacher in the Spanish GP turnaround?
Schumacher played a crucial role in Mercedes’ turnaround during the Spanish GP. Through a late-night simulator session at the team’s Brackley factory, he helped unlock the answers needed for the car’s setup, ultimately leading to Mercedes’ first double podium finish of the season.
How did Hamilton and Russell praise Schumacher’s contribution?
Hamilton and Russell spoke highly of Schumacher’s contribution to the team’s success. Hamilton credited Schumacher for delivering the progress Mercedes needed after a challenging practice day, while Russell commended the overnight work done by Mick and the simulator team, highlighting their role in getting the car in a good window for the race.
What improvements did the Mercedes team make to the car?
Following a difficult start to the practice sessions, the Mercedes team made significant improvements to their car overnight. They fine-tuned the setup based on the insights gained from Schumacher’s simulator session, resulting in the car feeling the best it had ever been in terms of balance and handling.
How did Russell perform in the Spanish GP?
Russell had an impressive performance in the Spanish GP. Starting from 12th on the grid, he charged through the field to finish in third place. He noted that the Mercedes car felt exceptional throughout the weekend, especially in the cooler conditions, thanks to the team’s efforts in fine-tuning the setup.
Will Schumacher have a chance to drive the Mercedes F1 car?
Yes, Schumacher will get his first run in Mercedes’ current F1 car during the post-race tire testing session at Barcelona. This test is being conducted by the team on behalf of Pirelli, and it will provide Schumacher with an opportunity to experience the car and contribute to further development.