Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Hamilton says Mercedes have “obstacles to overcome” despite fastest time

2022 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton said he is drawing no conclusions over the performance of Mercedes or their rivals at the end of the first rest for the 2022 Formula 1 season.

“You never do [know] on the first week,” said Hamilton after ending the third day of practice on top. “We have no idea where everyone is.”

Although Mercedes ended the test with the fastest time of all, having covered more laps than any team bar Ferrari, Hamilton said it hadn’t been an entirely straightforward three days with their new W13 chassis.

“It’s been an interesting few days. Not been the easiest or the most smooth running, we’ve definitely got some obstacles to overcome.

“Of course we’d always want some more laps but I’m happy with today’s. I think I almost got 100 laps in today so for a half day of running that’s not too bad. A little bit behind on the last two days.

“The car’s a lot different to previous years to drive, as are the tyres, but we’re working our way through it.”

Hamilton drove the car in the afternoon after the track was doused with water to give teams their first opportunity this year to test Pirelli’s wet weather tyres. He said the car felt better once the track dried out.

“It was a damn site better than earlier on than when it was damp, it wasn’t good to start the session with all that wet running. But the car definitely was feeling better with fresher tyres and it’s good to get a good feel for the different compounds.”

“The whole team has done an amazing job this week,” he added. “The men and women back at the factory have done an awesome job. So we just need to download all this data and just get through it as much as we can next week and just try to put one foot in front of the other.”

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  • 53 comments on “Hamilton says Mercedes have “obstacles to overcome” despite fastest time”

    1. We’ve definitely heard this one before. Straight from the greatest hits album

        1. And people will stop watching F1 in 3-2-1, because season is ended before it started…

    2. Whatever. Same crap every year, same poor mouthing, same sandbagging, then they end up winning the title.

      1. Except last year :) same sandbagging but no title :))

        I’m still so happy.

        1. Constructors Title was what I was referring to.

          1. Fair enough. They lost the one that counts though :)

        2. Yeah, but Masi is gone now :-)

          1. So with no one to keep Hamilton artificially in the race, Max wins the title in Austin?
            (and no more penalties for Max based on the position in the corner previous to the corner where Lewis will squeeze him)

        3. They weren’t sandbagging in testing last year though? In fact they struggled heavily in testing I recall. Their car was stronger in first race but Hamilton barely beat Max so I doubt they were hiding their power or anything. Their car didn’t even become dominant until late part of the season even.

          At the start of last season, theh lost more downforce than others cars (AM aside) due to the emergency safety regulations FIA passed that affected low rake cars like theirs. So I doubt they had the luxury of sandbagging this time last year.

          1. Really? Max didn’t take the championship lead until Monaco. I don’t know why people talk down the Mercedes last year, it was the car to beat for most races.

            1. Max gave away some points early in the season– so did Hamilton, but the net went to Red Bull. The two cars were very close all season, and according to some analysis on this site, the Mercedes was, on average, faster– by about 0.058%, if I recall.

      2. that’s winter testing for you.

        I only care about the pictures, the best cars will be Mercedes, Red Bull and maybe Ferrari. Not too sure about Ferrai cuz they drop the ball way more often than the other two.

        Aston, Mclaren and Alpine are in position to have good results, the rest will fight for crumbs.

        F1 is too predictable.

        1. Predictable… Lots of people are going to eat humble pie when Mclaren grabs pole by 3 tenths in Bahrain and proceeds to dominate the first few races.

          1. @emma That would be quite something. A PU customer team dominating factory works teams.

            1. @robbie Mclaren were the team I first truly fell in love with (1998) and so let me hope/wish :-)

            2. @emma I hear you. I have a soft spot for them and always will because of Bruce McLarens Can-Am cars and because of Senna, and at least the good news is that even as a customer team they are as resourced as the top teams and of course I always consider them a top team, so if anyone can do it as a customer, they can.

            3. The story of RBR and Renault, maybe

          2. It actually still works on you?

    3. I guess they have to overcome the same ‘obstacles’ as they had during 2014-16 and 2020 as well.

      1. The W13 is slow on long runs so far, and there only appears to be about 0.1 seconds between the C4 and C5 tires– that’s not right.

        Whether that’s because they were taking it easy on what’s supposed to be the most heavily reworked version of their engine since 2014, I don’t know. I’m assuming the Friday last-gasp runs were running the engine at full performance so they can now tear the engine down and examine it’s wear characteristics.

        I’m not an expert– but to me, the W13 appears to be a very clean, refined design that isn’t particularly special in any one way or another, but has the potential to allow the team to work it in any direction they need to. I suspect there’s considerable performance remaining to be unlocked from the chassis.

        It also seems to not suffer much from porpoising, suggesting the aero balance is very, very good.

        I think we have 4 teams that have the potential to fight for podiums– Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren (in that order)– with Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin and Alpine being wildcards.

    4. I don’t care if a Merc wins it, just as long as it’s close and they aren’t powered to it with a clear PU advantage again. Really hope the reduced drag and higher speeds level out engine performance this year.

      1. If Mercedes were to win the championship again this season, I doubt it’ll be because of a clear PU advantage. AMuS reported today that, according to rumours in the paddock, Mercedes haven’t yet fully recovered the power loss caused by the swith to E10 fuel. However Ferrari seems to have made big gains on the PU, even bigger ones than between 2020 and 2021.
        I expect Mercedes to be in the fight for the title, but not dominate the whole field. RB, Ferrari and possibly McLaren are likely to have strong packages as well.

        1. That’s reassuring. I hope you’re right!

    5. I don’t think I’ve heard one driver comment on how the car feels when following another car.

      1. Mick Schumacher made a comment about it yesterday, saying that it feels better than last year when following the car in front from about 3 sec distance. Then at 1-1.5 sec it’s still bad, because you loose much downforce. But generally it’s easier to close up to the car in front.

        1. I guess he would know what it’s like to be behind all the cars.

          1. Or behind ANY car….

      2. Verstappen and Norris stated it seems following is easier.

    6. Your forgetting Mercedes secret weapon, Sir Lewis Hamilton.

        1. Isn’t Dex just saying what you have just intimated in your post above? That whilst the others are going to take two complete tests and possibly a race or two to get their cars in the sweet spot, Ham just needs a day and a half to not only find the sweet spot but have the confidence to sandbag knowing he will stroke the car to another WCC.

      1. In the end why isn’t his “real” name on the timing screens?

    7. “You never do [know] on the first week,”
      “We have no idea where everyone is.”
      “It’s been an interesting few days. Not been the easiest or the most smooth running, we’ve definitely got some obstacles to overcome.”
      “Of course we’d always want some more laps.”
      “not too bad”
      “The whole team has done an amazing job”
      “The men and women back at the factory have done an awesome job.”

      And the most used sentence ever

      “but we’re working our way through it.”

      Said every driver ever at the winter testing

      1. *every Mercedes driver since 2014 ;)

    8. “It was a damn site better than earlier on than when it was damp

      I do t understand this quote. Is this a British English thing? Damn site better huh??

      1. @ryanoceros yes, an idiom – I would have used “damn sight better” – it means something like “much, much better”.

      2. Misspelled – it should be “sight”, “not site”.

        As Biker56 said, it means much better.

    9. What compound was he on when he set the fastest time? C4 probably?

      1. Yes and no. He set a lap time only 0.03 slower on the C4 compound. While his fastest time was on the C5 it’s worth noting he was 0.5 slower than Russell in S3. Predictions are that almost any team could have topped that time too, so we’re still in the dark on running order.

        1. Yeah. I doubt we will know until Bahrain qualifying / race. Thanks!

    10. If the staus quo is the same after this massage rule change (Merc 0.5 second advantage) then I’m about to give up on this s hit show. And I know I’m not the only one!

      1. Don’t let the door hit y’all.

        1. There will be millions of doors closing on this clown show ‘sport’. Good to know you’ll be there to turn the lights off…

          1. So if Merc win you’re taking your toys home. Fair play.

      2. Nancy, don’t worry, Mercedes will be fighting for podiums but don’t expect a runaway championship by them; Red Bull and Ferrari are the main championship contenders this season.

    11. And there it is. Another season where Mercedes GP will dominate and races will suffer due to lack of competition.

      1. Don’t bet on it, P2 is probably the best Mercedes can do this season. Second half of the season will be quite interesting as teams bring more development. I do expect Ferrari to be at least in the fight for 2nd.

    12. I’d say they are over half a second ahead of ferrari.

      1. Yet Toto began mind games claiming to Auto,Motore und Sport Ferrari PU seems returned the most powerful.. Aside , AR & Haas declared they’re satisfied about engine ..but their cars are crap overall.

        1. The Ferrari does seem to have a great PU this season. It will be especially beneficial if they can exploit their power increases while maintaining cooling with minimal aerodynamic loss. I’m more interested the Honda PU because if that’s on par with Ferrari of Mercedes then it’s Red Bull’s championship to lose.

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