The Brackley-based German superteam are leaving their rivals trailing in their wake
What a time! Paddy Lowe lived and worked through the dazzling 1992 season with the Williams FW14B-Renault and now it’s more of the same – with the proviso that it’s now Paddy’s show and things are happening his way.
You need only spend a few hours at the Mercedes factory in Brackley to see that this is a large team run in homely style. There’s no pretension; no uff. Here are a bunch of racers, each working as a part of a harmonious whole. Paddy isn’t Adrian Newey but he has the same inuence over the team: the same cannot be said of any other technical people in F1.
“Credit to Toto Wolff… he saw the potential and gave Paddy Lowe the blank canvas”
Credit, then, to Toto Wolff, for making this happen. Paddy was technical director at McLaren but he wasn’t an in-your-face, future star in the McLaren galaxy way of things. Wolff saw the potential and gave Lowe the blank canvas.
The Mercedes W05 Hybrid is an excellent racing car from front to rear. Typical of the package is the simple, elegant gear-box-in-agear box rear structure initiated by Aldo Costa: it provides all the pick-up-point rigidity in the world, saves weight and improves the practicality of the car. Ferrari had both this design and Costa – and they let both of them go. Enough said.
I wouldn’t like to be the guy who has to keep the peace between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. In 1992, there was no problem: Nigel Mansell was a quantum leap ahead of Riccardo Patrese. Not so with Nico/Lewis. But Paddy and Toto have done as well as can be expected, giving F1 something to talk about when it could all have been so predictable.
With Nico’s retirement at Silverstone came the redressing of a balance that for most of the rst part of the season had fallen away from Lewis. Now they’re close enough to be even. Lewis still has a slight advantage in terms of outright pace: he nds little at spots with the car, particularly in change-of-direction sequences, about which the rest of the pack can only dream. But he made critical braking errors in Q3 in both Canada and Austria – and tripped up in Q3 at Silverstone.
Nico, by contrast, has been fast, cool, consistent and effective – a driver unafraid to execute a perfect Monaco Manoeuvre at the height of Q3. It was in the wake of this, Lewis backed away from Q3 at Silverstone. The thought was that Nico would do the same, thus securing pole for Lewis.
Nico forged ahead, though, taking his fourth pole of the year and nosing in front of Lewis vefour in terms of grid positions. That one moment in time could well have dened the rest of the season to come.