Hamilton and Russell claim Mercedes W15 is “not the diva that it was in the last two years” following first two days of F1 testing

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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Despite the fresh news of Lewis Hamilton’s departure from Mercedes at the end of this year, some more positive news comes for the team with the performance of their W15 car in the pre-season testing sessions that have occurred thus far. 

Seven-time World Champion and seasoned driver of the Bahrain track, Hamilton wasted no time in putting the W15 through its paces during pre-season testing today (Thursday 22nd February). His verdict? A resounding thumbs-up for the improvements witnessed in the latest iteration of the Silver Arrow’s car. 

Despite the team slipping back in the rankings following the new technical regulations in 2022, Hamilton claims that the team appear to have taken a step forward this year after finishing the session in third place, with 123 laps logged before the final testing session on Friday.

“We’ve clearly made an improvement with this year’s car, and it’s much nicer to drive.

“We gathered lots of learnings about the W15, both in our long running and single lap work.”

Teammate George Russell also offered a glowing appraisal of the new Mercedes car, noting that the car’s downforce is the main thing for the team to focus on in the coming year.

“It’s not the diva that it was in the last two years,” Russell claimed, nodding to the challenges faced by the team in the previous years where they’ve only claimed a single victory.

“The car last year was really challenging to drive. Lewis and I had no confidence in it. It felt like it was going to bite us every single corner.”

The car from last year’s season was plagued by rear-end instability. This is something that the W15 will (fingers crossed) not suffer from due to the team’s renewed focus on downforce performance.

The team’s technical director, James Allison, shed light on the team’s efforts to address the shortcomings of the past and to fix the “spiteful” rear-end instability that characterised the car last year. 

Russell’s insights provide a glimpse into the nuances of the W15’s design philosophy, with him claiming that the car generally felt nicer to drive and wasn’t snapping out as it was before.

“You can definitely tell from the very beginning if the car is an improvement and if it’s nice to drive… and it definitely is an improvement. There’s no doubt about that.

“I had a good feeling within the car, but we know that all of the other teams have made a good step forward.”

Talking about the porpoising issues from the previous year, the drivers appear to have experienced no such problems with the W15 yet. This hopefully indicates that the team has pinpointed the optimal ride height for this year’s car.