Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison claims that he would cry if the team manage to pull off a win at Silverstone this coming weekend. While Allison’s optimism offers hope to Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, he has also admitted that the Silver Arrows are not yet ready to lead from the front and may rely on a slip from Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
Mercedes have made steady improvements since a troubled start to the 2022 season, which was hampered by porpoising. Bouncing at high speed continues to be a factor, not least in Baku earlier this month where Hamilton complained about a crippling back injury, but the team now hold out hope of being competitive on smoother circuits.
Silverstone is one of those, and it is a place where Hamilton has enjoyed plenty of success during his illustrious career with eight victories. Without a win to boast all season, Allison told fans exactly what they wanted to hear ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
“Everyone in our factory doesn’t dare say it, but we are cautiously optimistic of having a more competitive weekend than some of those we’ve had of late,” he admitted to Sky Sports. “I think some of the characteristics of this circuit will suit the car.
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“We don’t have a car capable of winning from the front yet, but as long as we can get it tamed through Maggots, Becketts and around the faster corners, we have a decent chance of a competitive showing this weekend.
“Maybe if the Red Bull stumbles, who knows, but I’m hopeful of a better weekend. I’d cry [if Mercedes find a win]. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll have a creditable showing with a car that’s definitely on the mend.”
Mercedes have all the ingredients to capitalise if Allison’s claim about further car improvements come to fruition at Silverstone. George Russell has been extremely solid since making the step up from Williams, remaining the only driver on the grid to have finished in the top five of every Grand Prix this season. Hamilton’s year has been comparatively up-and-down, but he gained momentum by finishing on the podium in Canada last time out.
The Silver Arrows are certainly surrounded by a more positive feeling than they might have expected when things looked to be going pear-shaped again in Azerbaijan, where team boss Toto Wolff apologised for giving his stars a ‘s***box’ to drive. A win in the drivers’ homecoming race would be an incredible morale boost, and Hamilton stirred up excitement with his post-race interview in Montreal.
“It feels great to be in amongst the battle,” he said. “For a second I was kind of keeping up with these guys. It’s given me and the team a lot of hope that there’s more to come from this car, the potential is there.
“When you get a full race distance you find a lot out with the car. Great work from team. Just got to keep our heads down. I know where I’m losing to these guys, so that’s where I’m going to focus on attacking to improve.”