What Martin Brundle doesn’t know about Formula 1 isn’t worth knowing, but even the highly respected broadcaster and ex-racer is at a loss to explain Mercedes’s fortunes this season.
The last two races have summed up the Brackley squad’s season, and their rather mixed messages. After the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the team was downbeat after it again struggled with the extreme bouncing which has affected their car at high speed.
The negative vibes continued in practice ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton calling the car the worst he has ever driven. However, it was a different story in qualifying and the race, with Hamilton starting fourth and finishing third, one place ahead of teammate George Russell.
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The pair finished in the same positions, albeit the other way round, in Baku, but the difference in body language after both races could not have been starker, with Mercedes even talking up their chances of taking the fight to Red Bull and Ferrari at British Grand Prix later this month.
With that in mind, Brundle is struggling to assess the stage of Mercedes as we approach the midway point of the season.
“The Mercedes team are so confusing for everyone at the moment, including themselves,” said Brundle in his post-race column for Sky Sports F1.
“On Friday Lewis declared the car was undriveable, which is indeed exactly how it looked, and in a Sky F1 interview he strongly intimated that it was now about making the best of a bad job for the rest of the long season. Team boss Toto Wolff said similar things to me in an interview having described the car as a 's***box' just a week earlier.
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“George Russell took a very bold gamble on slicks at the end of the final wet but drying qualifying session, which I suspect he wouldn't do again. I admire his confidence but two or three parts of the track were still ten minutes away from being ready.
“Then in the race both Mercs were flying along almost on the leading pace. To be realistic, if Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez had had normal qualifying and race performances, and had we not had two virtual and then one actual safety car, it would likely have been a solid fifth and sixth for the Merc boys.
“However, once again there does appear to be a good car under that shrink-wrapped bodywork, and they fancy their chances at Silverstone which is next up.”
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