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Admittedly, I reckoned Mercedes would drift backwards during the Hungarian Grand Prix. I know…that was a silly notion considering they won in Monaco and the circuits have similar characteristics. I have no excuse for my ineptitude but suffice to say, I wasn’t the only one a tad surprised.

According to Pirelli, Mercedes have made gains in their competitive form and it’s not due to their mystery tire test. Motorsport boss Paul Hembery said:

“[It’s] something they have done,” said Hembery.

“We were looking at race [and] just waiting, thinking at some stage it would be a problem, but it wasn’t.

“It was a surprise to us. It was hot for everybody, everyone was suffering.”

As AUTOSPORT’s Mr. Noble points out, the heat was unbearable and some considered it to be the achilles heel for the team but it clearly presented no issues. The team simply seem to have gotten on top of their development war and clawed back the pace and more importantly, the consistency to hang with the top runners. Hembery said:

“They obviously have a lot of pace, as soon as everything clicks they were going to be a very competitive act,” added Hembery.

“In Hungary it worked and we will see how they go in Spa.

“If they do get that consistency with the pace they have shown then they will be a major competitor.”

Competitive indeed. If Mercedes couples their qualifying pace with a race consistency and doesn’t drift backward with over-heating tires, they will instantly become a factor in every race with the driving talents of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Gowra

    Obviously Mercedes have a combination of a vastly improved car +Lewis Hamilton+Working tyres as a complete package which delivered in Hungary.

    They also showed RBR can be beaten which some of the other front runners should learn very quickly in this mid season.

    There is nothing much here to debate anything as full marks to the Silver Arrows Mercedes team for a good effort.

    • The key may be how they look at Spa. high speed corners, loading int eh tires etc. If they maintain their pace in the race at Spa, I am willing to bet they will be a serious contender for the remainder of the season.

      • Sudha S

        The performance at Spa & Monza will show if they have really got on top of the tyre issues or if it was the nature of the Hungaroring that brought the victory. Really hope they have got over tyre deg issues and can give RBR a run for the money. Cant have them running away with both titles again…..

  • KevinW

    Sliding tires will destroy them faster than track or ambient temperature. Merc has the power and speed, but lacks grip. Hungary fixed that to some degree by being hot, coupled with the last minute swap to soft and medium tires by the tire goons, which aided grip. They proved nothing as far as RB is concerned, as that team simply finished exactly where they have for the last 4 years, with the exception of 2010 for Weber. The Lotus is a slower car, easier on tires from lack of real pace, but patching that up by skipping one stop. Again, it only works in certain situations and actually proves nothing. Hamilton ran a great race, and the car worked for him. It is not going to last. Red Bull will be fair at Spa, nothing special as usual, then okay in Italy, but nothing spectacular. The Asian tour will be the big indicator of whether anyone has actually found a way around the bulls. We do this every year, Hungary and Spa pointing to Red Bull falling back, with Italy being a wild card… then the Asian tour changes the story to their being back on form – landing us in the mixed results of the US, ME and Brazil for those wishing to make up lost ground gnash of teeth.

    • Great observation mate. I agree 100%, aldo I wish for Mercedes to keep the pace as the championship is over like it is now,

  • Matt_D

    And of course the added 1000 km of free road testing was no factor in the developments which now make their cars so fast.

    • That is certainly Paul’s take on it…testing wasn’t the key.

      • steve_w

        …well he is hardly going to admit otherwise. The whole Pirelli love-in with Merc makes me sick. Merc tried to make them the fall guy in testing gate scandal and yet Hembery does nothing but suck up to them. I wouldn’t be suprised if Merc had dangled the carrot of supplying tires to their road cars to them. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

      • Rapierman

        So, if all that testing meant nothing, then what the heck were they doing driving a thousand kilometers? It had to mean something to Merc.

  • Enrique Miguel

    “[It’s] something they have done,” said Hembery.
    Of course it´s something they have done, mainly a huge 1000 km test with pirelli´s new tyres and the 2013 cars. So Hembery´s comments are only half true…..

    • TSquare

      So everyone else got a 3 day test, while Mercedes sat out, but no one else could improve THEIR car. Who’s fault is that? Mercedes has just done a better job of developing. Everyone has done the same amount of testing, in fact all the other teams got the chance to test new updates and Mercedes was unable to at their Pirelli tire test, so the table is more than level now. With the tech team Mercedes have now, does anyone think that they would never get on top of the tire issues? It is only a matter of time, If they had to they could build a new car or totally change the old one, like McLaren did 2 years ago. They went from 2 sec off the pace to front row in 4 weeks with a different tech direction. I guess we should look for a secret test in McLarens closet, at least the Mercedes was already fast.

  • My favorite comment; there isn’t an asterisk on the 2013 season now.

  • KeviW

    Here’s a fun theory. Pirelli has never been questioned about what it learned and did with the data it gained from the Merc test. Following that test, Merc wins Monaco (the 1000km seat time and team lessons from car adjustments benefit is obvious here). Then Pirellli, after asking to change the tires, gets that permission, in both in compound and structure, after mysterious failures at Silverstone, with no explanation other than to blame the teams for doing what they have done for years. as if to show how ludicrous the accusations are, RB wins Germany with Merc down in 5th and 9th. Yet, In response to the accusations, new rules are put in place that demand teams run specific tire pressures, and stop a common practice of left-right swapping.Further, in response to the results in Germany, a surprise change in compound choices for Hungary is announced. Testing of the new tires developed after and using the Merc test data allows Pirelli to verify assumptions made about the new Merc data based 2012/2013 hybrid tires impact on all teams… Suprise, suprise, Merc wins again, by a string margin. Is it possible that the advantage to Merc is not coming from Merc making changes at all, but Pirelli and the FIA making changes that favor Merc using the data gained in Barcelona? Just how important is Merc to F1? How serious is their threat to leave the sport completely if they don’t see results? Seems plausible that the redirection of attention between Merc and Pirelli serve both well, while the collusion explains the minimal FIA punishment for the secret test. I know, its all rubbish…But it seems strangley more plausible than the load of manure being dumped on the media by all the players involved, and why they can’t stop defending themselves.

  • Philippe

    The secret test still bothers me.
    Even if the other teams had track time at the young driver test and Mercedes didn’t, they still had 4 races (Monaco, Canada, Britain and Germany) to take advantage of their gains in the secret test. Winning 2 of those 4 races, adding a lot of points and passing Lotus and Ferrari in the constructors championship. (4th in the standings before the secret test. 2nd after Germany)
    If Mercedes were to win both championship by a small margin, there would be an asterisk in my mind for 2013, because of those 4 races.
    Banning them from the young drivers test does not erase the advantage they had for 4 Grand Prix.

  • BadName

    It’s the active suspension they’ve been working on since day 1. If they even get it to work correctly a little bit it negates any aerodynamic deficiencies. Part of the problem they’ve had is creating too much mechanical grip, if they’ve got that sorted, and the suspension working, you can expect to see this car get faster and faster for the rest of the season.

    • Good point…

  • Julian

    Surely a big indication of the Mercedes improvement was the performance shown at Silverstone. Nico won the race, it was only the ACME exploding tires that prevented Lewis winning and a merc 1-2. I think they will do well at Spa, and the battle for the title is on between Mercedes and Red Bull