It is fair to say that Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team currently find themselves in unfamiliar territory. After 4 Grand Prix race weekends the team has 77 points in the F1 Constructors’ Championship and clearly a real battle on their hand to have any hope of securing this title for a 9th consecutive year. At this stage in 2021, the Silver Arrows had already scored a staggering 141 points. The majority of points for the team in 2022, to the surprise of many, have come from George Russell. The former Williams racer has scored 49 points compared to his illustrious, seven-time F1 Drivers’ World Champion, teammate Lewis Hamilton’s haul of 28 points. Team Principal Toto Wolff told select media, which included Motorlat, that the form of Russell and his partnership with Hamilton has been ‘one of the very few highlights’ of 2022.
Valtteri Bottas was told in 2021 that his services would no longer be needed at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team as his seat would be taken by George Williams. The Finnish racer has hit the ground in 2022 at his new team Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN and already has 24 points on the board – just 4 points behind his former teammate. Meanwhile, George Russell has also been quick out of the blocks with a podium in Melbourne being the highlight of his first 4 races with his new team as the British racer continues to drive his W13 beyond its capability.
Speaking after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff shared his thoughts with select media, which included Motorlat, during a virtual press conference. The Mercedes maestro explained how impressed he has been with the way George Russell has started his tenure with the team and collaborated so well alongside Lewis Hamilton.
“Yes, I’m very impressed with how [Russell has] settled in, how professionally and analytically he helps to assess the situation,” said Wolff. “The combination is one of the very few highlights I have at the moment on our journey – how well the two of them work together, with no friction; on the contrary, [they're] very productive and positive for the team.”
As delighted as Wolff may be with the early signs and clear potential of his new driver pairing, he is also aware that the car is not what it needs to be. W13 is certainly proving to be an unlucky number for the current F1 Constructors’ Champions.
“And I couldn’t be happier with the driver line-up; in that respect I think we have the two best drivers, maybe two of the three best drivers and they deserve a car and a power unit that fights at the front rather than them being lapped. That’s not what any of them deserves.” Wolff concluded in his recent remarks on this issue.
This coming weekend sees F1 arrive at Miami for its inaugural F1 Grand Prix. An unfamiliar track and one which shows similarities with Jeddah Corniche Circuit may well suit Mercedes. What the team lack in power they certainly make up for in driver ability. As such, while other less experienced racers in quicker cars may struggle with the close barriers, if Mercedes can driver a clean Grand Prix, they may find a large haul of points as their reward.
Any aspiration for a 9th consecutive F1 Constructors’ Championship may be far from the mind of Toto Wolff and co for now. However, with another confirmed 18 Grand Prix race weekends still to come, Toto Wolff may find he still has many highlights to come this season. History has shown that one would be a fool to count out Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team this early in the proceedings. The battle for the Formula One Constructors’ Championship has only just begun and you can be sure Mercedes won’t give up their crown without a fight.