Lewis Hamilton has spoken out on the struggles facing Mercedes at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix – and his answers will concern fans.
The Brit has had a difficult start to the 2022 season. He secured a podium finish in Bahrain, but then failed to get out of Q1 in Saudi Arabia. In the race, Hamilton recovered to run in sixth at one stage. However, the pit lane closure during a virtual safety car period scuppered any opportunity for a decent result. He ended the race in 10th position.
His team-mate, George Russell, fared better in Saudi Arabia. He finished in a highly credible fifth position – the maximum Mercedes could have expected given their pace deficit to Ferrari and Red Bull.
The reigning Constructors’ Championship holders are struggling again in Australia. During the second practice session on Friday, Russell finished in 11th place. Hamilton was 13th.
The cars were 1.2 and 1.5 seconds, respectively, behind pace-setter Charles Leclerc. With the two week gap between the Australian Grand Prix and the race in Saudi Arabia, fans expected Mercedes to have solved some of their issues. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.
What is going wrong at Mercedes?
Mercedes have been suffering from severe ‘poiposing’ – the suspension of the car bouncing at high speeds.
Another problem is the car’s power unit. Whilst Ferrari and Red Bull-powered cars have set the pace, those running the Mercedes power unit have been off the pace.
Speaking before Australia, Russell was confident that a solution would be found.
He said: “Even if it goes all the way into the summer break, you’ve got so many races after that.
“If we continue to maximise our points and damage limitation to be within touching distance, if we come out and suddenly resolve all our issues and we are the team to beat, there’s no reason why we can’t overturn the deficit. We all have excitement that a solution can be found.”
Read: Toto Wolff says Mercedes will take chainsaw to Lewis Hamilton’s car
Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff stated that the team would take a chainsaw to both cars to deal with drag problems before the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. However, that appeared to make little difference.
Lewis Hamilton sparks concern over Mercedes problems
Speaking after the second practice at Albert Park, Lewis Hamilton made no secret of the issues facing Mercedes.
He explained: “It’s just nothing we change on the car makes a difference at the moment. So that’s the difficult thing.
“You’re getting very optimistic, and then you make changes, and then it doesn’t seem to be wanting to improve.
“We made some changes going into P2. P1 was better. P2 ended up being a bit harder for me. So I don’t know. It’s a tricky car.
“There’s not a lot we can do. This is the way it is. And so we just have to drive with it. That’s the frustrating thing. You’re trying to push, you’re trying to catch [up], and even when you have a decent lap, it’s 1.2 seconds down. So it’s difficult.”
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