Lewis Hamilton ‘praying’ for Mercedes changes as year-old problem returns

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton in the drivers parade. Spa July 2023.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton looks out in the pre-race drivers' parade. Belgium July 2023.

Lewis Hamilton has said the bouncing that plagued Mercedes last season was back on show at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

Hamilton crossed the line fourth in the Belgian Grand Prix, pitting on the penultimate lap to set the fastest lap of the race while doing so, with Mercedes showing solid race pace overall.

But with both Red Bull drivers and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc further up the road, the seven-time World Champion admitted he was unable to keep up with those ahead.

Lewis Hamilton was ‘back to bouncing’ like 2022 at Spa

Given that Mercedes’ porpoising issues were one of the blights of their season last time around, that problem looked to have smoothed out overall this year for the Silver Arrows.

But with George Russell also reporting the return of the dreaded bouncing phenomenon, and Hamilton saying the car bounced its way through the Austrian Grand Prix a few rounds ago, worries about the car returned at the high-speed Belgian circuit.

Nonetheless, further valuable points were in the bag for the Mercedes duo at Spa, with Hamilton moving himself to within one point of third-placed Fernando Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship.

“I mean, it was kind of a non-eventful race, really, there’s not really much going on,” Hamilton admitted to Sky F1 after the race.

“I wasn’t able to keep up with the cars ahead of me and struggled in the beginning. Rear end is our biggest issue and then we had big bouncing this weekend, so we’re back to the bouncing like we had last year.

“But at the end I was kind of keeping the Ferrari within a few seconds, but I couldn’t get any closer to the battle.

“To get the fastest lap at the end, it was nice to have the gap to the car behind and the last lap was decent, but it was gusty today, it was difficult out there on track.”

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When pressed further about the return of the bouncing on his car, Hamilton acknowledged it is a “concern” for him, and he and the team will be putting in work behind the scenes at their factory to try and find a solution, one for which he says he is “praying”.

“They don’t know and to me it is a concern,” Hamilton said when asked about the team’s views on how the car has been able to start bouncing again, and how they can fix it.

“But we’ll work through the data. I think we’ll work through the data this week, and then try and figure out what we do for the next race.

“I know what I want, I’m praying for it and just waiting for the day we get it.”

Read next: Belgian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen’s streak continues as McLaren’s fears come true