Mercedes F1 Struggles In Saudi Arabian GP With 6th And 9th Finishes

Giancarlo Perlas March 10, 2024

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix proved to be a tough test for the Mercedes F1 team as both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton faced an uphill battle on the Jeddah street circuit. The team’s performance left much to be desired with their respective finishes at the 6th and 9th spots.

Mercedes F1

Tough Start for Mercedes Duo

The race commenced with George Russell starting in the 7th position and Lewis Hamilton in the 8th, equipped with Medium tires. However, their hopes of gaining ground off the line were dashed as an early Safety Car prompted an unexpected pit stop for several drivers, altering the strategic landscape. Despite their efforts, neither driver could capitalize on the situation, setting the stage for a demanding evening.

Russell opted for a switch to Hard tires during the early pit stops while Hamilton extended his stint on the track. The decision, however, did not yield the desired results as both drivers struggled to fend off competitors on fresher rubber. The seven-time Formula 1 champion’s pit stop on lap 37 saw a switch to the Soft compound for the final stint, but the team faced challenges trying to close the gap with competitors, especially the Red Bull cars which secured another 1-2 finish.

Driver Perspectives

Russell reflected on the race, revealing the W15’s slippery nature on straights and the high-speed challenges that hindered overtaking opportunities. Despite finishing 6th, the young driver expressed the team’s need to find the sweet spot with the car’s performance.

Hamilton, on the other hand, attempted a different strategy, going long in the hope of benefiting from a safety car or virtual safety car. However, the anticipated opportunities did not materialize, leaving the multiple Drivers’ Champion with a 9th-place finish.

Team Principal Toto Wolff’s Analysis

Toto Wolff, the Team Principal & CEO of Mercedes, acknowledged the hardship faced by the team in high-speed corners, pinpointing a loss of about half a second in specific sections of the track. He admitted that their strategic gamble did not pay off.

Despite the difficulties, the Mercedes F1 supremo emphasized the learning opportunities from the race weekends.

Technical Insights from Trackside Engineering Director

According to Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes F1’s Trackside Engineering Director, the weekend was marred by struggling high-speed performance and challenges in landing the car set up correctly. The difficulties in sector one affected the overall lap time, forcing the team to play catch-up in subsequent sections.

Shovlin acknowledged the frustration but also highlighted glimpses of strong performance, emphasizing the need for improvement before the Australian Grand Prix.

Looking Ahead to Melbourne

As the team returns to Brackley to analyze the data collected from the W15, the focus is squarely on making improvements before the Australian Grand Prix. Shovlin emphasized the need to iron out weaknesses, learn from tough days, and come back stronger.

The competitive nature of F1 demands continuous improvement, and Mercedes is committed to the hard work required to elevate the car’s performance in Melbourne.

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About Author

Giancarlo Perlas

Giancarlo Perlas is an economist by profession with a career spanning nearly two decades. His professional journey has seen him assume vital roles in various government and private organizations, particularly in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. Alongside his civic and corporate pursuits is his love for cars, particularly those made by Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, he found himself with like-minded individuals within BenzInsider. From then on, he used the platform as a way to share his passion with the automotive community. Follow his Facebook page at, X (formerly Twitter) @giancarloperlas, and IG @benzinsider. View all posts by Giancarlo Perlas →

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