Hamilton struggling to tame ‘tough’ Mercedes

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Hamilton struggling to tame ‘tough’ Mercedes

Formula 1

Hamilton struggling to tame ‘tough’ Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes is finding it “tough” to tame its 2022 car during Bahrain testing and that he’s not happy with the car’s handling.

Mercedes caught the eye with a radical upgrade package brought to the final test, with its sidepods particularly innovative. However, when out on track the car has looked difficult to drive, with Hamilton suffering from porpoising when trying soft tire runs in the afternoon and ending up fifth fastest at the end of the day.

“It’s definitely tough out there,” Hamilton said. “It’s windy and the wind changed around quite a bit today. Generally, it’s been tough.

“The package is very, very similar. What can I say? I think it’s the wind, it’s the bouncing that we still have this week — if anything it’s a bit worse. So we’re just working through lots of different scenarios, trying to figure out how to hold onto downforce and not having it bouncing like it was in the first test.

“I think everyone is in a similar boat; some have managed to utilize or get around it in a better way but it’s difficult out there. It’s bumpy, it’s slippery, it’s sandy, in the morning it’s way too hot and in the afternoon it’s just gusty.

“It’s tough at the moment. I mean, you can see on the onboard. Tank-slappers left, right and center, bouncing and bumping… not quite happy at the moment but we’re trying to tame her.”

While Hamilton is struggling, he says he doesn’t think it’s as a result of the upgrade itself and has faith Mercedes will find solutions, as it has so often done in the past.

“The car definitely is different to last week but it’s more so the tires working with these temperatures are different here. It’s a different machine this weekend but I don’t think it’s the change that we’ve made.

“I think so much great work has gone into creating this upgrad, it’s just hurdles that we’ve come across with this new kind of car that everyone is facing in 2022. I am confident in the team here and back at the factory that we’ll figure it out but it’s definitely not going to be a smooth one.”

The seven-time world champion says there’s no way Mercedes is sandbagging because of the way the car is handling, and believes Ferrari has an advantage at this stage of testing.

“I really don’t know (the picture if the first race was tomorrow). I think Ferrari, from what I can see, today Ferrari would probably be getting a 1-2 or maybe Red Bull.

“I mean, we’d be really really good if we were having all these oversteer moments and having this tacky driving just to hide our cards. It’s not the case, no. We have things that we’re trying to get through, as I said; others are struggling less. Who knows? Maybe when we get to next week we’ll have a better understanding.”

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