Lewis Hamilton absent from ‘secret’ Mercedes test as George Russell given priority

Lewis Hamilton was reportedly absent from a ‘secret’ test by Mercedes this week as George Russell took to the wheel for an upgraded W13.



Mercedes are currently trying to upgrade their car to make it more competitive with Red Bull and Ferrari. The reigning constructors’ champions



have been well off the pace in the opening five races with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc leading the way.

Pre-season testing in Bahrain saw Mercedes adopt a unique design on the W13 with practically zero sidepods.



Reports at the time indicated that it was producing brilliant results in the simulator, but that has so far failed to translate on track.

The factory have since been tasked with trying to package together upgrades to make up lost ground on their rivals.



There was a hint of progression at Miami and they’ve now reportedly made more changes to the car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

According to the Independent, Mercedes conducted a ‘behind-closed-doors test’ at Circuit Paul Ricard on Wednesday.



But Hamilton was reportedly not present at the test run with Russell the only driver testing the revamped W13. Russell is said to have completed 62 miles of running, which equates to around 68 laps around the track.

The report also points out how the test run at Paul Ricard is the second of two filming day’s permitted to F1 teams in one season.

Details on what the upgrades were have not yet been released, but Mercedes will hope the changes help close the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari.

They’re already 62 points adrift of Ferrari, who hold a five-point lead over Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship. McLaren are Mercedes’ closest rivals for third spot after Lando Norris’ strong start to the campaign.

Russell will also be aiming to keep up his record of being the only driver this season to finish inside the top five in every race. The former Williams driver has outperformed Hamilton so far, beating his team-mate in four of the five races.

Hamilton has had his fair share of bad luck with a number of Safety Cars going against him and his plan. But the track in Barcelona has been kind to Hamilton in previous years with the 37-year-old winning the last five races in Spain.


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