Mike Elliott, Mercedes‘ Technical Director, has said that the team is still trying to work out just why there was such a drop off in performance between Friday practice and qualifying on Saturday at the Miami Grand Prix.
There were calls that Mercedes were back on Friday in Miami, though the team and drivers themselves were eager to try and play down such talk, with George Russell finishing P2 and then P1 in the two sessions, whilst Lewis Hamilton also looked quick.
Indeed, it was arguably their strongest day of the season so far but, as they and everyone else will tell you, you get nothing for going quick in practice and by qualifying it appeared as though they had fallen back a little.
George Russell was outside the top ten and Lewis Hamilton could only go sixth fastest, whilst in the race they mustered a 5th and 6th place finish, which was respectable enough.
The mystery, though, appears to be continuing around that drop off in pace from Friday to Saturday and, speaking in a Mercedes video debrief, Elliott has revealed that the team is still looking into it after someone had sent a question in on the matter:
“That’s a really good question and it’s a question that we are trying to answer at the moment.
“I think if you were to look at Friday’s running it was probably the most competitive we’ve been at any point through the season so far.
“Between Friday and Saturday we will have made some changes and actually those changes were fairly minor, but there were also changes in conditions and we need to go through all of that data, extract as much understanding as we can from that and use that to move forward over the next couple of races.”
It’s clear the W13 car has a pretty small window of optimal performance and finding it is proving difficult.
What will hearten the team, though, is that when they do hit the sweetspot the car looks quick, and so they just need to find the key to unlock all that potential over a much wider set of environments and situations.