Mick Schumacher appreciates the kind words after his work helped Lewis Hamilton and George Russell during the F1 Spanish GP.

For Mercedes, the F1 Spanish GP represented their best team result of the 2023 season with Hamilton netting second place and Russell securing third. It was a great result, where the former started from row three, while the latter missed getting through to Q3. Despite that, a second and third result was not to be sniffed at.

As it turned out, one of the focal reasons for the successful weekend was the work undertaken by third driver Schumacher in the simulator. A lot of which was done on Friday well into the night before the former Haas man flew out to Barcelona.

His efforts did not go unnoticed by Hamilton and Russell. “Friday was a real struggle with the balance, it was way out of the window,” said Hamilton. “It was very hard to drive, very unpredictable. Then we did some great work overnight. We’ve got a great team, with Mick back in the simulator on Friday night, and he did some great work, which helped us get on the right track on Saturday.”

Russell was equally praising of Schumacher. “The team’s done a really, really great job,” he said. “The work that Mick and the simulator team are doing overnight, they were there well past midnight to help us with the set-up and get it in a good window for the race. So, we are making strides in the right direction”.

“We just need to make sure, especially into next year, that we hit the ground running because I think we as a team probably develop faster than anybody else.” It was harder for Russell to get onto the podium after the Q3 miss, but the pace was good on Sunday.

Schumacher himself was equally pleased with his efforts and input, as he also got to drive the W14 on track for the Pirelli test on Wednesday. “It was great to drive the new update package,” he said. “Of course I hadn’t driven the launch package so I couldn’t make that direct comparison”.

“From all the communications I’ve heard from the drivers though, I could feel and agreed with a lot of their comments when driving. It was very straightforward,” summed up Schumacher, as Andrew Shovlin also had kind words for the German and team at Brackley for the changes that they could make going into Saturday for Sunday.

“It is fair to say the single lap was challenging on Friday,” said Shovlin. “There was a bit of overheating, the balance wasn’t quite in the right place, but the long run looked pretty solid. Now, what changed in between? As normal we’re running the simulator overnight, we had Mick driving, running through a range of changes”.

“That work is analysed and the results of that are then discussed with those when we come in on Saturday morning and we can cherry pick the best bits of that work and get them onto the car. It was definitely improved for Saturday but what was really good to see was how strong the car was in the race. The balance was more or less spot-on”.

“It was looking after the tyres well and they were able to overtake. It was really encouraging to see George starting on the same row as Sergio and able to finish ahead of him in the race itself. So, clearly good progress but a great job done by the team, particular Mick and the simulator team overnight.”

One would hope that Mercedes are headed in the right direction. They like the rest of the grid are playing a massive catch-up to Red Bull but look back at last season and the work and results that they underwent from the middle of the season to the end and what they achieved. Simulator work can prove invaluable and it certainly did in this instance. It really was a massive team effort.

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