Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin called the team’s double podium finish in Budapest ‘particularly satisfying’ – and warned the team’s rivals the Silver Arrows have more upgrades coming as they chase their first win of the season.
The Hungarian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finish in second and third, respectively, for the second race in a row – after achieving the same result at the French GP.
And after what was a difficult start to the season, Shovlin was particularly delighted with the result at the Hungaroring, believing it shows Mercedes have closed the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari.
“This last [double podium] was particularly satisfying because we weren’t relying on the misfortune of anyone dropping out with a reliability problem,” said Shovlin. “The car pace was also very good, and it is always nice to have a good race before you go into that period of holiday. The most satisfying thing though is to see where the car is in terms of pace now in qualifying and in the race.
“We had a lot of ground to make up from the start of the year, we’ve been working really hard trying to bring bits to every race and it is really satisfying now to see that we are racing with the Ferraris, with the Red Bulls right to the front.”
2022 Hungarian Grand Prix: Russell and Hamilton tussle for P2 in Hungary
When asked if Hamilton could have won the race on Sunday without a DRS issue in qualifying, Shovlin said: “The big regret is that we had that DRS problem right on his only new tyre in Q3. Had we got both on the front-row, we would have been in a good position to control the race. If you actually look at how it plays out strategically though, it would have been very difficult for Lewis and that comes down to the start tyre.
“With Max [Verstappen] having started on the soft, he had two mediums to go to, to finish the race and that meant he could stop earlier and was always going to be able to do a more effective undercut on Lewis than we could have done to defend. So, that’s the main thing on a strategy point of view, we don’t think we missed any opportunities but there were other incidents.”
He added: “Max had that spin that cost him very little. Had that been more of an issue Lewis could have been in contention at the end. Had there been a bit more rain, Lewis was hoping for that to come a bit sooner because his tyres were in good condition. But overall, we need to make the car a little bit quicker, and we certainly need to make sure that we’ve got the DRS fixed in qualifying.”
Mercedes have achieved six consecutive podium finishes heading into the summer break, but are still yet to win a race this season. And while Shovlin says it has been “fun” to be competing at the front again, the team will be still working to make the “extra step” to start winning races soon.
“Well, we’ve got more coming. We are trying to bring some performance to Spa that will hopefully close that gap, we haven’t got far to go now. But we’ll keep developing the car for a little while now.
“We’re quite excited though, the last few races have been the most fun we’ve had all year and we are just hoping that we can take that extra step because we definitely want to be winning races in the near future, so we are working hard to try and achieve that.”