Lewis Hamilton tells Mercedes ‘we have got to fix it’ as three-year-old flaw strikes again

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton driving the Mercedes W15 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton driving the Mercedes W15.

Lewis Hamilton said the bouncing was back with a vengeance in Saudi Arabia and warned Mercedes “we’ve got to get on top of it”.

Hamilton’s final season with Mercedes did not get off to a great start in Bahrain, as engine temperature issues hamstrung both he and team-mate George Russell, meaning Hamilton headed to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix hoping for an improved showing.

Lewis Hamilton rues bouncing Mercedes W15

The seven-time World Champion has work to do on Grand Prix Saturday though after managing only P8 on the grid, a second off the pace of polesitter Max Verstappen as he prepares to share the fourth row with Russell.

Mercedes went back to the drawing board with the W15, looking to unlock the secrets for returning to their title challenging ways after falling short so far against Red Bull in the ground effect era, with preventing the bouncing effect, known as porpoising, proving a major stumbling block for Mercedes so far.

And it will be concerning that Hamilton claimed the phenomenon was plaguing him once more during Saudi Arabian GP qualifying in the new-look W15, as he urged Mercedes that enough is enough.

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Asked by Sky F1 how difficult it was to extract the qualifying lap he wanted from the W15 in Jeddah, Hamilton replied: “I mean, it’s similar to previous years I would say.

“There are so many elements of this car which are better, it’s just we’ve been hindered by the bouncing that we have through [turns] 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, which I think probably affected George.

“It’s something that they’ve not been able to fix. We made some changes overnight and this morning the car felt so much better, I was regaining this confidence again and then when we get to qualifying, it disappears again.

“George has done a great job. He’s a lot more comfortable in the car. Similar to the past couple of years I would say. But we will keep our heads down, we keep working away. I’ve got a bit of a better feeling as to where the issue are coming from, so I will try and address it with the team.

“We’ve tried every setup change, we can’t get rid of it.

“It’s difficult to explain it, but we had some bouncing in Bahrain, but nowhere near as intense as here.

“But that first sector, super high-speed, a lot of lateral load and the bouncing really offsets the car quite a bit. If you imagine when the car goes up and down at the back, your balance shifts forwards and rewards. If you’re doing that at 160, 170 miles an hour, correcting that each time…

“Max is flat through [turns] 6, 7, 8 and the balance is just stable. And that’s what we’re working towards. We’ve got to fix it, it’s three years in a row. We’ve got to get on top of it.”

Hamilton has not tasted victory in Formula 1 since the first staging of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2021.

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