Mercedes have explained how doing “uncomfortable” experiments over race weekends has helped the team to make progress.
It was a tough start to 2022 for the Silver Arrows, but the team have showed signs of making steps forwards at recent races, with back-to-back double podiums for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at the French and Hungarian Grands Prix.
This may have come as something of a surprise at the Hungaroring in particular, given that the squad had faced some issues during their running on Friday and Saturday.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director at the Silver Arrows, admit that the change in their performance came about as a result of some experimentation, which seems to be helping them to move forwards.
Mercedes learning from “experiments”
When asked on the F1 Nation podcast if he could explain how Mercedes had turned their Friday performance around to claim pole position on Saturday and P2 and P3 on Sunday, Shovlin said: “Well, the simple answer is no, I’m not going to tell you that, because I think we actually learned quite a lot on Friday.
“It was a bit uncomfortable, the car was in a pretty bad place, but it was one of those where we went one way and realised we needed to go the other, so it was a useful experience.
“We’re doing all these races saying, ‘We’ve got to make them live experiments. We’ve got to be learning for the future.’
“That sounds great on paper. In practice, it can be quite difficult and quite uncomfortable. But it was a great turnaround.
“Both drivers have done a great job, the team’s done a great job, and what a nice way to go into the summer break.”
Shovlin hails “really impressive” performance
After seeing “glimpses” of promise from the W13 during the year, Shovlin was impressed by how Russell was able to put the car on pole position in Hungary.
“The car’s not had that pace all year,” he explained.
“We’ve seen little glimpses of it, if you looked at maybe Austria qualifying where we were starting to do some purple sectors.
“But to do it when it really mattered in Q3, it was really impressive, whether it’s a case of us getting it right, or perhaps Ferrari and Red Bull getting it a bit wrong on the single lap work.
“It was a great lap by him and it [was a] real shame as well that we had the DRS issue with Lewis because we could have potentially got the front row, and if we’d had the front row than it would have put us in the driving seat to win the race.”