Lewis Hamilton denies Mercedes’ claim that both cars had deployment issue

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes W13 cockpit. Italy, September 2022.

A view from above of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes W13 cockpit. Italy, September 2022.

When George Russell was struggling with ERS deployment at Monza, Mercedes said it was impacting both cars. Lewis Hamilton does not concur.

During the second practice session ahead of the 2022 Italian Grand Prix, Russell took to team radio to tell Mercedes of his struggles with deploying the electrical energy from the hybrid system. This can be used for a pace boost for a limited time on each lap.

“Deployment is a bit all over the place at the moment,” Russell stated.

Following the complaint, Mercedes suggested both cars were being affected, which would have meant Hamilton was also suffering from the same problem. Or so the team thought.



When Hamilton was asked about the deployment issue by reporters after FP2, he denied that had been the case.

“I didn’t have an issue,” he stated.

Told about the comments from Russell’s race engineer ‘Riki’, Riccardo Musconi to give him his full name, Hamilton replied: “We have low deployment but no, I didn’t have any issues.”

Hamilton was not happy though with his overall pace in FP2. After finishing the session P7, he suggested either Mercedes had gone in the wrong direction with set-up changes between FP1 and FP2 or the others had made gains.

“We just made some set-up changes, nothing major, but we went a lot slower somehow, or they went a lot quicker,” said Hamilton.

“Giving it everything out there, just doesn’t feel particularly quick.”

Russell, on the topic of that deployment issue, explained that while it was a blip in the session, overall he believes Mercedes are lacking in that department compared to Ferrari, who topped both FP1 and FP2.

But despite Red Bull’s pace in a straight line, he feels Mercedes are on a similar footing to the Austrian outfit in terms of deployment capabilities.

Asked if that issue was a blip in the session or if it could impact him going forward, Russell replied: “Both, to be honest. It was a blip during the session, which made things worse, but generally speaking we are lacking a bit of deployment.

“I think we are similar to Red Bull, but Ferrari seemed to have the upper hand in terms of deployment. So that may make things trickier in a race scenario as they’ve got a bit more of a locker to play with. So it’s something we’ll have to deal with.”

After contending for the win at Zandvoort, Mercedes look to have dropped off the leading pace of Red Bull and Ferrari at Monza, with even Lando Norris in the McLaren beating both Mercedes drivers in FP2.

The W13 also looked to be giving Russell and Hamilton a bumpy ride. So is that something Mercedes can fix overnight or will the drivers just need to put up with it?

“I think we’ll have to deal with it,” Russell replied. “It was a bit of a strange day, FP1 was looking pretty strong, but then Ferrari and Red Bull have seemingly taken a step forward compared to us, or maybe we’ve taken a step back because we were obviously behind a McLaren in FP2. So a bit of work to be done tonight to understand that.”

Russell nonetheless has a great opportunity to score a strong result at the Italian GP with Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Hamilton all carrying power unit-related grid penalties into the race.

In the past we have seen teams put great value into picking up, or creating, a tow down the main straight in qualifying, but Russell does not expect Mercedes to put much focus into that this time around.

“If you nail it, it definitely does work, but there’s high-risk high-reward really,” said Russell. “So it’s not something we are putting a lot of emphasis into.

“Qualifying sessions are the time when we learn quite a lot about the car, the tyres, and that’s clearly been somewhere we’ve struggled this year. So for now, I think we’ll both just go in and do an ordinary session.”