Lewis Hamilton and George Russell relief – Mercedes ‘issues’ explained

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are not in any immediate danger of suffering from the same problems as last year despite reports claiming that Mercedes experienced a number of worrying performance issues at Wednesday’s shakedown run, Express Sport has learned. The Silver Arrows unveiled their all-new W14 challenger to the world in the morning before taking to the track at the home of British motorsport for a demo session in the afternoon.

Mercedes only completed around 15 kilometres of running at Silverstone but a report from motor.es claimed that a number of early power unit issues soured the occasion and sparked internal fears over whether 2023 could be another lacklustre campaign for the German outfit. It was said that ‘ignition problems and misfiring’ saw repairs needed on the W14 after just a few laps, although Express Sport understands that such claims are wide of the mark.

The event in fact went smoothly for Mercedes aside from the normal teething issues that would be expected when running a new car on a circuit for the very first time, just hours after it was officially revealed to the public. The Silver Arrows also had Silverstone booked out for another session on Thursday, with up to 100km of running allowed due to its designation as a filming day.

George Russell was tasked with putting the W14 through its paces on Wednesday and revealed after the session that everything went as planned, although he insisted that it is always difficult to draw conclusions from the first day of action and especially when running is limited to just 15km, which works out at less than three full laps of the Silverstone circuit.

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“It’s been a smooth day, but it’s so difficult to say,” Russell told f1i. “Last year we came away from that shakedown not with too many thoughts to be honest, we were so compromised by weather.

“But you’ve got to take the results from today [with] a pinch of salt and make sure there’s no major scares and just make sure the car’s running today in Bahrain. That’s going to be the true test. As much as we want to get out of a day like today it’s kind of meaningless in that regard.”

Meanwhile, it has already been claimed by Hamilton that Mercedes have succeeded in ironing out some of the problems that hampered their efforts in 2022, when they could only manage a third-placed finish in the Constructors’ Championship standings after winning just one race between their two drivers all season.

“We’ve had these problems that we faced last year and we’ve gone round and round about trying to understand what those are and how we can fix those,” said Hamilton at Wednesday’s launch event.

“We won’t truly know until we fully get in the car, but we believe we have hit the nail on the head in some of those areas. Some of them we’ll still have to work on, but yeah, this is the most exciting period of time. We’re in Silverstone, the sun is up here in February and this is a day that there’s only two of us out of almost eight billion people that get to drive this car, and so I feel so privileged and then therefore just incredibly excited.”

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