Hamilton and Russell agree on why Imola will be better than Miami for Mercedes

This year has been Mercedes' second-worst F1 season so far since returning to the sport in 2010, but Lewis Hamilton and George Russell believe it will improve at Imola

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Returning to a conventional weekend at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix will benefit Mercedes compared to the Miami sprint round according to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, who back the Silver Arrows to bounce back at Imola.

Mercedes‘ forgettable Miami GP weekend netted just 12 points, which hasn’t been an anomaly in 2024 for the former dominant power in Formula 1 – it was actually their best Grand Prix result since the season-opening Bahrain GP.

But despite a lack of significant upgrades at Imola, both drivers believe having three free practice sessions to prepare the W15 for qualifying will improve their chances in an F1 running order that remains volatile after Lando NorrisFlorida win.

“I think it’s so difficult to know exactly where it’s going to fall out right now in F1,” Russell told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “Red Bull‘s going to be in the front and fighting for victory but between the three next teams – Aston Martin seemed very up and down as well – you really can’t say.

“But I think we’re glad that it’s a conventional race weekend now and that will allow us to build up during the weekend rather than just throwing a setup down and hoping that it works.”

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Miami Grand Prix, Friday | Mercedes / Sulay Kelly
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Miami Grand Prix, Friday | Mercedes / Sulay Kelly

Mercedes at least saved their best performance for Sunday in Miami, as Hamilton was less than two-tenths away from fifth place after keeping pace with Sergio Perez in the final stint and Carlos Sainz‘s post-race penalty dropped the Spaniard down the order.

That fifth would’ve equalled the team’s best finish of the season – a stark contrast to the glory days like 2019 when Mercedes’ worst result after six races was a solitary third place, Hamilton won six of the first eight grand prix of the season and teammate Valtteri Bottas picked up the other two.

However, Hamilton echoed Russell‘s prediction of an upturn in form at Imola – a venue he controversially crowned as the most iconic Italian F1 race.

“The day before we had a different setup and I changed the car for qualifying for the Sunday’s race,” Hamilton added.

“And it goes back what George was mentioning earlier. We had that one session and we’re still in this discovery process with this car and it’s not easy to extract its maximum performance, it’s a very small window.

“I was stuck mostly in traffic the day before, but we weren’t particularly hugely quick. Then with the changes that I made the Sunday setup was a lot better, I think he [Perez] was still quicker, but I was in his DRS most of the time. But it was great to be close.”

Hamilton: Mercedes playing the patience game

Mercedes are expecting a major upgrade to arrive in Monaco – mirroring 2023 when they turned their season around thanks to their design shift that made its debut on the streets of Monte Carlo.

But Hamilton quashed any sentiment that it’s been a frustrating wait for Mercedes, and insisted he’s enjoyed the process of developing the upgrades even before they’re added to the W15.

“It’s a patience game and just making do with what you have, making the most of the tools that you have at your disposal today and tomorrow and this weekend,” Hamilton said. “But it is really encouraging that we are seeing progress back in the factory, in the wind tunnel.

“We have new components coming and that’s always an exciting part of the process, trying lots of different things then finding out what works and what doesn’t. We do have a direction forward, we tested it on the simulator so then you’re just itching to get those bits.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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