Lewis Hamilton’s W14 seat position complaints placed under microscope

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton during practice. Melbourne, Australia, March 2023.

Lewis Hamilton during practice. Melbourne, Australia, March 2023.

Jenson Button has been explaining why seat position is so crucial to his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes man could make a long list of aspects of the W14 he is not pleased about with one of the main ones appearing to be where he is actually sitting

Hamilton noted that his position was much further ahead than the other drivers and a side-by-side graphic shows he is considerably more forward than the Red Bull pair.

The seven-time World Champion suggested it was the worst position to drive a car in and said it was “something I’ve really struggled with.”

“If you look at the past, I’ve always enjoyed an oversteering car,” Hamilton said.

“I don’t know if people know, we sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers. Our cockpit is too close to the front.

“When you’re driving, you feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you’re driving a car.

“If you were driving your car at home, and you put the wheels right underneath your legs, you would not be happy when you’re approaching the roundabout!

“So, what that does is it just really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement. And it makes it harder to predict, compared to when you’re further back and you’re sitting closer, more centre.

“It’s just something I’ve really struggled with.”

His former team-mate and 2009 World Champion Button has described just why Hamilton may have such an issue with being that far forward.

“It’s [to do] with what he’s not feeling,” Button told Sky Sports. “I think that’s the biggest problem with Lewis.

“The way he drives, he’s quite aggressive on the throttle, quite aggressive on the brake and he does everything through the steering wheel, so he really needs to feel what’s happening through the rear of the car through his arms.

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“And he’s not getting that so he doesn’t have that confidence to push the car and these cars are tricky anyway, especially in qualifying, and if he doesn’t have that confidence, he’s not able to get the maximum out of it.”

Karun Chandhok joined Button on the broadcast and explained why it is important to feel all four contact points of the tyres.

“The contact patches to the ground are through the four wheels, so if you don’t feel the rear axle he [will] think he’s further forward.

“That gives him the inability perhaps to have confidence on entry. We saw this in practice [in Australia], he starts to turn the wheel and already starts correcting before the apex. That’s why he’s missed the apex.

“If he’s not able to feel that oversteer then he’s got understeer, then it snaps again on the way out. If he’s not getting early warning signs, that saps confidence on entry.”