Hamilton says Eau Rouge ‘ruined’ by ‘massive bump’

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] tackles Eau Rouge. August 2021.

Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] tackles Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps. August 2021.

Lewis Hamilton has urged Spa-Francorchamps to fix a “massive bump” which he has noticed at Eau Rouge, and is ruining the experience.

This fast, sweeping section is one of the most iconic pieces of track on the Formula 1 calendar, which in modern machinery is taken at full throttle, a spectacle to watch and also drive.

But Hamilton has been put off by a big bump in the road at Eau Rouge, and wants that fixed sharpish, suggesting that the recent flooding at the circuit may be to blame.

“It’s been an okay day, a bit miserable here, the sessions are very short so we don’t get a huge amount of knowledge or gaining from the short time we have,” he told Sky F1 after FP2.

“At least it was dry for FP2, so we got some laps in, but the car wasn’t quite underneath me today, so I’ve got some work tonight to try and figure that out.

“It’s a massively challenging circuit, trying to find that right balance, and this morning we had it one way, we changed it this afternoon, very very similar.

“You go faster in the first and third sector, but you go slower in the middle, or you go quicker in the middle and slower in the other two.

“So trying to find that balance is quite tricky, but it’s a great great circuit.

“It’s very bumpy now through Eau Rouge, something has happened, they have ruined it a little bit, I don’t know if there is a new patch there but there is a massive bump right at the compression point, which we never had there before.

“It’s really sharp, you feel it through the backside, but I’m sure they’ll fix it, I think it’s something to do with the mud slide, the rain.”

The rain fell at Spa in stages throughout Friday practice, though some reports suggest it will become heavier and more persistent by Sunday.

But, the only predictable thing about the weather at Spa, is that it is unpredictable, and so Hamilton is wary of putting all his eggs in the high-downforce basket.

“Naturally I think if it is guaranteed to rain then you would want more downforce,” he said.

“But then if it doesn’t rain and the weather man or woman is wrong, then you are a sitting duck on the straights.

“So we have to be very careful, cautious with setup changes that we make over the next day.”

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Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas topped FP1 before narrowly bettering the Briton in FP2, suggesting his high straight-line speed approach was paying off.

“It didn’t look too bad today, and the pace I had for the short runs and long runs was pretty decent,” he summarised.

“Always tricky to compare in detail from practice, but at least the feeling is good, so that’s a positive.

“Definitely we seemed quite fast in the straight line, maybe less so in Sector 2 with the corners, but for me for the race it’s important to be quick in Sector 1 and 3.”