Hamilton was clearly struggling at times during test – Gasly

2022 F1 season

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Pierre Gasly is convinced Mercedes will not start the new season as the team to beat after observing Lewis Hamilton’s difficulties in his W13 during testing.

Hamilton said he does not expect the eight-time constructors champions will be in contention for victories from the start of the year. His comments drew a sceptical reaction from Max Verstappen, who pointed to Mercedes having made similar comments after last year’s test, yet won the opening race of the season.

However, Gasly observed Hamilton when the pair ran closely on track and is convinced Mercedes’ problems are real.

“I was quite surprised to be fighting with Lewis for a couple of laps,” he said.

“We know, on our side, we’ve got quite a lot of work to do to improve the performance, to improve the car balance. Clearly I could see Lewis was struggling as well and I think they do have some work to be fighting right at the top.

“But it’s only testing, it’s part of the test and exploring how to get the best out of the car.”

Hamilton’s team mate George Russell said after the test it was obvious to anyone who watched footage from their car the team hasn’t got on top of the ‘porpoising’ problems which many have encountered with the new cars.

“We’re trying to get every last bit performance out of it and just trying to test those limits,” he said. “But it’s bouncing around a lot.

“From within it’s not the comfiest, in all honesty. I don’t really care about comfort if the performance is there. But at the moment the performance isn’t there.

“We do seem a step behind our rivals and we do have a lot of work to do between now and next week to understand because, in every condition, the Red Bull and the Ferrari seem a step ahead of us.”

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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21 comments on “Hamilton was clearly struggling at times during test – Gasly”

  1. Typical Mercedes getting a rival team to play down their pace! They really want to hide their 5 second a lap advantage this year…

    I’ve said countless times this year is different for Mercedes yet still this article will get loads of sandbagging based comments… And F1 fans are supposed to be intelligent.

    1. Please explain what sort of leverage does Mercedes has on a Red Bull team to get them to say this…

      1. he forgot the /sarcasm tag

        1. yeah, I guess he did… but I’m an F1 fan, I’m not intelligent…

          1. F1 Fan? Then you should know Ham, Gasly and Leclerc have their own Call of Duty team. So I’m sure we can come up with why Gasly is not being honest.
            Come to think of it Mercedes have been bigging up Gasly lately as Hams bestie. So preparing him to step into Hams shoes in a year or twos time?
            It’s obvious when you think about it.

    2. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
      15th March 2022, 19:11

      According to who is this intelligence claim being made. Yerr unbelievable there is no intelligence here more than football or anything. Just blind loyalty to favorite driver

  2. And F1 fans are supposed to be intelligent.

    Where on earth does this notion come from?

    1. Anon A. Mouse
      15th March 2022, 13:09

      I’ve certainly not witnessed this to be the norm.

    2. Fans are not a definition while some can be intelligent, stupid, ignorage, ugly, pretty, petty, ect or must i continue?

      While i understand Gasly his comment this doesn’t mean Mercedes is in trouble i think more they need to understand their concept that can be fixed next race but it also could time time1-3 races. I expect Mercedes be fast maybe not as fast as the two Red Bull and Ferrari but very near them and in the later races 3- maybe passing them (atleast Ferrari)

    3. Yeah, I find myself extremely stupid to follow this sport for more than four decades. Kind of addiction I guess and that’s not clever either.

    4. Maybe he’s comparing them to football fans

  3. In F1, teams have 2 races in hand, against themselves and against opposition. Even if a team is well ahead of the rest, they might still feel they are struggling (even if it doesn’t appear to be) because they are not able to extract all the potential of their car. As an engineer, I would want to know that the drivers can extract the most out of the package. If we use the full blow or not is another question.

    Interesting to see how Mercedes dominance is playing in people’s mind to the extend they can’t be fighting at the top of the field even after a major regulation change that is reshuffling the deck. Sure they have proven to be able to sort things out and be the innovative force but haven’t always been the best out of the gates.

    1. That’s a very well expressed notion @jeanrien, thanks.

  4. Hakk the Rack
    15th March 2022, 13:31

    Who was struggling? You mean Larbalestier?

    1. So you can handle two middle names, but three is a bit confusing for you?

  5. By sheer coincidence there was a sandstorm when Hamilton was driving. True story not even joking.

    1. Ahah, I guess that doesn’t bode well then!

  6. They just don’t care about being best in testing. What they are not is 1.5 seconds ahead, to much relief. The communal heart sink would kill all the excitement about the new rules in its tracks. Id rather have Ferrari being hunted then the hunter and Mercedes the opposite. I’ve really no time for RBR any more and I wouldn’t lose a moments sleep if they produce a pup.

  7. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    15th March 2022, 20:23

    @jeanrien has the best take I’ve read for a while.

    People tend to generalise to such an extend they miss what’s on front of their noses. So….. for those of who who the above applies to:

    Mercedes have seen the numbers in the wind tunnel, without all the on track problems they had in Bahrain.
    They encountered genuine problems in Bahrain which they weren’t seeing in the numbers. (Obvious just by watching the car!)

    They are trying to match the two realities up in 4 days before committing to a package for the Bahrain GP. (The car gets homologated before every race weekend now, you can’t just bolt another part on for Saturday P3!)

    For an Engineering team that is a MASSIVE ask!

    The sandbagging is the PU. NOBODY runs the PU hard in testing. We won’t know the relative performance of Mercedes, Honda, Ferrari or Red Bull until Q3 on Saturday. (Oops, forgot Alpine!)

    Once Mercedes sort the running problems and are able to unlock the down force, they will be right up at the front. Easier said than done.

    That’s all they are saying!

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      15th March 2022, 20:30

      @keithcollantine Can you please add an edit function. I hate reading my typos and not being able to correct them!

  8. Looks like Merc have gone for a calculated gamble, with a non-conventional design they believe has more potential than the route most others have taken, but might take a little while to fully understand and unlock.

    They could be wrong and have to do a radical course correction themselves, but my guess is they may end up with a decent advantage once they get on top of it. It seems worth the gamble, if they believe it would be hard to copy quickly (if they’re correct) and they have a more conventional design to fall back on (if they’re wrong).

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