Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Hamilton says rear grip ‘doesn’t feel too great with these new regulations’ after spin

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says the handling of his Mercedes has deteriorated as a result of new regulations introduced for the 2021 F1 season.

The world champion brought out the red flags during the second day of testing at Bahrain International Circuit when he spun into a gravel trap.

Conditions at the circuit have been gusty, but Hamilton also suspects changes to his car’s rear floor and diffuser due to new rules introduced this year have had an effect.

“The wind has done a 180,” Hamilton explained. “The track is a lot different today in places, some places you can push where you couldn’t push yesterday and it’s very gusty as I found out into turn 13.

“So the rear doesn’t feel too great with this new regulation change. But we’re trying to find the sweet spot.”

Hamilton covered 58 laps this morning and ended the day 15th overall in the time sheets. He said that “compared to the past [the test has] not been particularly useful.”

“I’ve done 60 laps, something like that, so it’s not a lot compared to other test days we would normally have.

“But we’re trying to be as efficient as we can be. We have less mileage than some of the others like the Red Bulls so far. But we’re just trying to stick to our programme and manage the amount of laps we have also and try to be as efficient as we can.”

Asked whether Mercedes were close to being worried about their testing form, Hamilton said: “It’s day two of testing so we’re just focusing on doing our job. So nowhere near at the moment, we’re just focusing on trying to understand our car. There’s no point in getting worried just yet.”

Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas went on to set the quickest lap time on the second day of testing.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 14 comments on “Hamilton says rear grip ‘doesn’t feel too great with these new regulations’ after spin”

    1. Strange Verstappen was happy for his car, guess Red Bull’s approach to the new regulation better.

      1. Red Bull copied Mercedes rear to adjust for the lack of rear grip they had last season. So they would probably have relatively improved the rear grip.

        1. And Merc lost it… sounds logical in your mind i guess.

          1. i think it’s the high rake who benefitted and the low rake got instable in certain situations.

    2. Tell that to VET and Ferrari…….

    3. I thought it would take until Lap 1 of Race 1 to hear Hamilton complain about lack of grip.
      But Mercedes can’t even wait till that long :)

    4. Tommy Scragend
      13th March 2021, 17:44

      Nobody believes you Lewis, in two weeks’ time you’ll be driving off into the sunset at the front again just as always. Yawn.

      1. The car can still overall be the fastest with not that great rear end grip, if everything else is fine, what’s your point?

        1. This Makes you wonder what tires he had on, and whether the Pit are as concerned as they normally are for warming up those tires.

          This may even be a double bluff, eg running a setup. The other teams will have their spies out recording as much as they can about the car, which will take them in a completely different direction come the actual start of the season

    5. Mercedes seem definitely worried. While we see all happy faces at Red Bull and McLaren, we see stressed faces in the Mercedes garage. You can’t tell much from testing, but you can tell a bit from observing the team members.

      Obviously, Mercedes can find the solution to their problems between now and 2 weeks. We don’t know what’s wrong. Maybe this year’s car is more sensitive to setups. Who knows. But right at this moment, this is not where they wanted to be for sure.

      This could be the year Mercedes dominance comes to an end. If so, will it also be the year McLaren returns to the front?

      Interesting times. Can’t wait until race 1.

      1. We’ll be seeing High Rake cars move up.

      2. Or maybe they’re just more stressed because they missed half a day of testing and have to fit more tests into a shorter time while being behind schedule… 🤦‍♂️

      3. Honestly we’re talking about 7 years with the best or joint best car, I would say: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 dominant car, I know there’s people who talk up the 2019 ferrari, but I think for the most part it was only good in qualifying and on the straights, it wasn’t overall fast enough nor reliable enough to compete, apart from that, 2017 overall the clear best car for mercedes and only in 2018 they had a really competitive ferrari opponent, so no, I will not say “mercedes dominance might come to an end” till I see them fail to bring the best car for any of the first few races.

        Look at 2018 for example: mercedes were the last of the top teams to win a race, the 4th race I believe, however when I analysed the performance and who should’ve won in those first races, mercedes came on top, which indeed happened in the end of the season.

    6. Should have gone with Russell

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