Former Formula 1 driver Jolyon Palmer believes that Mercedes AMG drivers are one of the contenders to win the upcoming French Grand Prix.
“Half the season has passed, and the Mercedes AMG drivers have not climbed above third place. The Silver Arrows, so strong in the last decade, under the new regulations, have built a machine that has fundamental flaws. The top speed on the routes suggests that the team is trying to solve them these problems.”
“It is simply amazing that with these problems the team has recorded seven podiums in eleven races, including the last four Grands Prix. Only Red Bull, 14, and Ferrari, 11, have more podiums, but which include wins.
To a large extent, Mercedes AMG has so many podiums due to the fact that the title contenders had many uncompleted races. As a result, the usual fight for fifth place turned into a fight for third place, which was won by the Mercedes AMG drivers.
“Not all Mercedes AMG podiums are deserved for their speed, but the team achieves such results thanks to the endurance of the Mercedes PE. And another feature of the season, in 2022, only Lando Norris climbed the podium outside the top six, at Imola , the worst race of the season for Mercedes AMG.”
“In 2021, after eleven races, more drivers climbed the podium, Norris three times, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon, who even recorded the first victory of his career at the Hungaroring. Despite the fact that last year the leaders had much less technical problems.”
In 2022, the difference lies in the fact that Mercedes AMG has managed to stay in no man’s land, between the leading teams and everyone else. However, there are already signs that Mercedes AMG will soon be back on top.
“In Barcelona they said they understood the car better. George Russell even led the race and Lewis Hamilton unfortunately got a flat tire on the first lap. In Monaco, Baku and Montreal, it was difficult to understand whether the pace of the Mercedes AMG in Spain was exception or real progress. However, it is due to the characteristics of urban tracks, on which all the weaknesses of the car appeared.”
“However, at Silverstone, with the new upgrades, the team looked like a contender for victory, although there is no doubt that they were helped by the problems that Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc had.”
“Nobody expected the Mercedes AMG drivers to be particularly strong in Austria, but the results were largely down to uncharacteristic mistakes by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the final qualifying segment.”
“However, if we compare Hamilton’s speed on Sunday with Charles Leclerc’s speed on a clean track, then the Mercedes AMG driver showed a very close pace.”
“The next race in France will take place on one of the smoothest tracks on the F1 calendar, consisting mainly of medium-fast and high-speed corners.”
“In the past the Mercedes AMG car has always been fast in these conditions, and this year in France the team will have the best chance of winning, but for this they need to do something about their qualifying pace.”
“This season in Spain, Silverstone and Austria, Mercedes AMG had chances to win, but things would have been different if Hamilton and Russell had started from the front row.”
“So far, Mercedes AMG’s race pace has been much better than qualifying pace. If they hope to win in France, they must improve on a fast lap to secure a high starting position.”
“It’s good when the race pace matches the pace of the leaders, but if you have to gain positions at the same time, as is happening with Mercedes AMG at the moment, it is difficult to fight for the win.”