Ralf Schumacher: Mercedes will fight for victory again

Ralf Schumacher, former Formula 1 driver and now an expert on Sky Deutschland, commented on the main results of the Spanish Grand Prix from his point of view.

At Mercedes, following the rivals, they also modernized their not very efficient car – it cannot be said that they copied Red Bull’s ideas, but they thought in roughly the same direction. They returned to the classic shape of the side pontoons and developed a new bottom for the W14 – in other words, they completely revised the concept of aerodynamics.

Changes also affected the front of the chassis. It can be said that they returned to the old ideas. The novelties were first introduced in Monaco, where it is impossible to verify their effectiveness, but the main thing was that the team discovered the causes of the problems.

It is now clear that the new concept really works, and given the methodology Mercedes works with, we can assume that they will soon be competing for victories again. However, let’s not forget that Max Verstappen still performs in his own separate category.

But I would say Mercedes managed to get ahead of Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin. This team is not yet that experienced and does not have such a perfect infrastructure. In Barcelona it was quite clear that they had a good car, but not yet fast enough. She still has weaknesses, and last weekend it all came out.

Helplessness Ferrari in Barcelona

But Ferrari had the most serious problems. In general, it seemed to me that Frederic Vasseur, the team leader, was at his wits’ end. When I asked him how long it would take the Scuderia to catch up with the leaders, he replied: “First we have to identify the essence of the problems, and only then can we estimate how long it will take.”

But it seems they still don’t know what is causing the intense wear on the rubber on their cars, and in Barcelona they were just too slow, except in qualifying. The Scuderia still has a long way to go and as Vasseur has only been in office for a few months it will take some time to get the hang of it.

This time he must be given, and the process of inviting new specialists to the team is already underway, although they will not immediately start working at full capacity. We’ll have to wait for their efforts to bear fruit. There is a good chance that Maranello will decide to end this season in order to start preparations for 2024.

Verstappen dominates but Hamilton got a chance

Max Verstappen dominated Spain to take another victory for Red Bull Racing, the team’s seventh since the start of the season. It seems that everything is going perfectly for her this year. However, her affairs may not be so smooth at some stages as she may also make mistakes and rivals may overtake her during the course of the season.

But here it is necessary to note the Verstappen factor. Sergio Perez has exactly the same car, but he does not succeed in that stability. And Verstappen and his team are doing a great job. At the same time, it looks like Mercedes will get them into trouble the most. Still, the potential of the upgraded W14 is far from being fully revealed.

But the question is: how much money can Mercedes spend on its further development? I think Red Bull’s options are broader in that regard. But still I admit that the battle for victories in the races will soon become more interesting and exciting again.

It seems Lewis Hamilton has adapted to the updated car a little better than George Russell – it seems the seven-time world champion is very content and already dreaming of new race wins. And maybe even about the eighth title. It seemed to me that at some point he had lost his former optimism, but now he felt it again.

Hulkenberg runs strong, but VF-23 lacks momentum

The Barcelona round showed that Haas’ car just wasn’t good enough. Even though the VF-23 was originally based on a good concept, it seems that the US team cannot effectively upgrade the chassis. There isn’t much progress and Haas needs to do something – maybe invite new specialists. However, both riders of the team do their part of the job well.

Nico Hulkenberg is even more stable than Kevin Magnussen, in qualifying in Barcelona he squeezed everything out of the car, but in the race he was hampered by increased tire wear. In addition, the car lacked downforce.

However, it is quite possible that the track in Canada is better suited to the VF-23, and there this car will run more efficiently. Haas are a small team with limited opportunities, although I hoped they would evolve faster this season.

Mick Schumacher will be able to prove himself

At the Pirelli tire test in Barcelona, ​​Mick will be driving a Mercedes for the first time. This is very important to him for two reasons. First, he will be able to feel the difference between working on a simulator and driving a real W14. Secondly, he will of course also be able to prove that he is capable of showing good speeds.

Anyone who will follow the course of the stages will be able to compare it with the riders of other teams. And Mercedes will make sure Mick is as fast on the track as he is on the simulator. By the way, his work on the simulator was very much appreciated by Hamilton, so I’m happy for Mick. Together with the Mercedes engineers, he helps the team determine the settings and further directions for improving the chassis. And it is all the more pleasant when the team receives confirmation of the correctness of the chosen path.

Source: F1 News

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