In difficulty at the start of the season, the German team bounced back and even aimed for second place for the manufacturers. Even a first victory, why not this weekend in Singapore.
The end of abundance came earlier at Mercedes. Accustomed for a decade to fly over the Formula 1 world championship, the German team has returned to the ranks this season. At least at the start of the season. For several races, Mercedes is better. An observation that is reflected in the facts (8 podiums in the last 9 GPs), so much so that the team appears as a (very) solid third force on the board.
In summary, there is hope. And the smiles are back in Brackley. Evidenced by that of the boss Toto Wolff, appeared playful during the Malaysian stage of the team, wanted to announce the extension of his title partner Petronas. « We have made great progress since the start of the season, it is a great comeback to the credit of the team, enthused the German. We must continue in this voice, but also learn and make the most of every opportunity.»
The last big opportunity to date, in Budapest (pole of George Russell), resulted in a double… but still not a first victory in 2022 (Hamilton 2e behind Verstappen, Russell 3e). A heresy on the scale of the number 1 stable of the hybrid era but also and above all that of Lewis Hamilton. « It’s not the end of the world if we don’t win a single race“, tempers the seven-time world champion, who has never had a white season since his debut in 2007. In any case, Sir Lewis does not despair: “There are six races left, so six opportunities for victory.The co-record holder of world titles took the opportunity to draw on his personal ambition and invites his team to aim for second place in the constructors’ ranking, far from unattainable (35 small points behind Ferrari).
An advantage « on paper » in Singapore?
And the Briton has reason to hope. At the forefront of hopes, the good health of his W13, reflected in the regularity of his teammate Russell, invariably in the top 5 except at home in Silverstone, where he had given up on entry. A model of performance since his arrival at Mercedes, the 24-year-old driver imagines two chances of victory for the Silver Arrows in 2022, Austin (October 23) and… Singapore. « I saw some bumps were cleared from the track when resurfacing, that should help“, noted the one who is still running after his first victory in the premier category.
A priori, this is the best track for us at the end of the season
Bumps prone to « porpoising », the rebound effect which had terribly hampered Hamilton at the start of the season. Long defeatist, the 37-year-old pilot is less grumpy and lately drags a more ambitious face morning in a very political tone. But the policy of small steps has lived, and Mercedes displays a legitimate ambition this weekend. « A priori, it is a good track for us, the best until the end of the season because the circuit has strong downforcepredicts Hamilton. But let’s be careful.»
Caution required even in the upper sphere. « On paper, Singapore may suit us, but I emphasize »on paper »insists Wolff. It’s a winding circuit where our single-seater can be comfortable. But watch out for the rebound effect, it will be a big challenge for us.“As is that of finding the top step of the podium.