Scraping a point at the Saudi Arabian GP, Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ W13 needs “more grip” and “more power”.
Hamilton had a weekend to forget at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the seven-time World Champion eliminated from qualifying at the very first hurdle.
Based purely on a lack of pace, Hamilton finished Saturday night’s qualifying down in 16th place and admitted he’d gone with the wrong set-up.
However, set-up is something that Mercedes are having to play around with as extreme porpoising with their W13 means they are having to raise the ride-height which is compromising their downforce.
“Right now we are not fighting for the top step, we are still far off the guys who are ahead and we’ve got a lot of work to do. It feels like a long way away,” Hamilton said on Sunday night having finished P10.
“We need more grip and we need more power.
“The end result was not great but the race was going really well, I felt relatively well on the hard tyre. I was keeping up with George and I think I put in some decent times and pace considering how old the hard tyres were and then the strategy at the end.
“I don’t know if it was strategy or the virtual safety car, we lost out so much so I think we will keep working hard and keep fighting because that’s all we can do.”
Not the race we were hoping for, but we’ll take our lessons from Jeddah and continue the work. 💪 pic.twitter.com/W3IU29exrV
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 27, 2022
His team-mate George Russell had a better night, the new Mercedes signing taking the chequered flag in fifth place.
However, Hamilton by no means thinks Russell, who went with a different set-up, has got it nailed down.
“We are still really down on speed and on the speed trace,” he said. “I don’t know if that is just one fix or several things, I don’t know how much drag we have compared to the others, but it feels like a lot.”
This year’s championship is, at least based on the first two grand prix results, shaping up to be a very different season to what Mercedes are used to.
Instead of fighting at the sharp end for the race wins and the championship titles, they are battling just to finish inside the points.
“For the last eight years we were right in the middle of those fun games at the front,” said team boss Toto Wolff.
“Talking as a Formula 1 stakeholder and benefitting from a great show, that is really spectacular.
“But on the other side it’s extremely painful to not be part of those fun and games and by quite a chunk of lap time.
“We are not going to rest until we are back in the mix. But it’s no fun at all, the exercise in humility.
“It’s going to make us stronger. But it’s not fun right now.”
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