Mercedes seems to be having huge issues as practice continues at the F1 Bahrain Grand Prix today, and now Andrew Shovlin has admitted that this weekend will focus on “damage limitation”.
Yesterday, George Russel placed fourth on the timesheet with Lewis Hamilton struggling five behind that, confirming that Mercedes is either sandbagging a lot, or having serious issues with porpoising. Unfortunately for Mercedes fans, it looks as though the team wasn’t lying when they revealed they didn’t have a championship car this year.
Mercedes trackside engineer has commented on the car’s performance:
“Our first session made use of the fact that we had two cars for the first time this year and chose to run them in different specifications,” the Mercedes’ trackside engineering director said.
“That was a useful test, and we got a clear read on which set-up and floor specification was best for the bouncing.
“However, we’re still struggling to get the rear of the car much lower and trying to do that gave the drivers a fairly bumpy time of it in the second session.
“In terms of pace, we have a significant gap to Ferrari and Red Bull, especially Max on the long run.
“There are some relatively easy gains we might be able to make overnight with the balance but we’re not going to find more than a few tenths.
“More important is that we keep learning as we don’t seem to have understood the bouncing as well as some of the others, it may also be that we’re lacking a bit of car pace.
“So, we’re expecting a tough couple of days where we need to focus on damage limitation but also continuing to experiment to see if we can find a better place to run the car.”
Despite this, Carlos Sainz has said it’s “typical” behaviour for Mercedes to be sandbagging, but Hamilton was keen to put this rumour to rest:
“We’re not bluffing like people assume we are but we’ll work as hard as we can to get through it and do what we can.
“At the moment, we’re not going to be in the race for the win here, Red Bull are 0.8/0.9s ahead and Ferrari are half a second ahead so we’re scrapping with whoever is behind them.
“I’m still calm, just trying to be the best I can be and get the best out of the car. It’s not ideal but we’ll pull together as a team to try and fix it.”