Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Hamilton not expecting “huge change” for Mercedes at first race after testing trouble

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton is going into the first race of the new season hoping Mercedes have found solutions for the problems they encountered in pre-season testing.

Speaking ahead of first practice at the Bahrain International Circuit, Hamilton said he doubts the team will have solved the problems encountered in last week’s test at the track.

“Nothing’s changed at the moment,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I think we’ve learnt a lot, obviously through the test, as everyone will have.

“Really I’m hoping that my guys have come up with some sort of solution going into this weekend and when I get in the car today, it feels better.

“But I know there’s not a huge change in such a short space of time so we will still most likely have some of the problems that we had last week.”

Hamilton’s new team mate George Russell believes the W13 has potential once the team is able to get on top of the problems it has encountered with ‘porpoising’.

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“We know we’re not quite where we want to be,” he said. “I think it’s clearly visible when you see on the television that we’re bouncing around a lot, especially compared to some of our main rivals. And that’s where we need to get on top of the team.

“We’ve been working day and night since the test to try and resolve some of these issues to bring more performance. I believe there is potential in our car somewhere, whether we’re going to be able to reach that potential this weekend or whether it’s going to be a few races down the line I’m not too sure.”

Russell said he’s grateful the team have more time to get on top of the problem now than later in the season. “Fortunately the races don’t come thick and fast at the start of the season, as they do from probably race six onwards.”

However Hamilton’s 2021 world championship rival Max Verstappen poured scorn on Mercedes’ assessment of their form in testing. The Red Bull driver said his rivals always downplay their chances.

“I think they will be dead last, according to their comments, I think they have an awful car,” he said. “And they have that already since 2017 in pre-season testing.

“No, we’ll find out. I don’t know, but they sure will be competitive.”

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2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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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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16 comments on “Hamilton not expecting “huge change” for Mercedes at first race after testing trouble”

  1. That man does not look to be in a positive mood in that photo.

    1. Maybe he’s just tired.

  2. Aren’t you all tired of reading such quotes and then watching Mercedes fighting for the win straightaway?

    1. Not really, as I listen to the full responses. Where the likes of Russell, Ham, the engineers, etc all say it has so much potential to unlock. Or Ham says a week ago ‘if we race NOW we wouldn’t win.’ Or even today when Ham says it could be one race, two races, or by Monaco before we get poles/wins.
      And anyone who watched testing could not only see the teams have issues with porpoising, but also how quickly it was to rectify once a solution was found.
      I don’t see many other teams; such as RB who have been a class apart during testing, bragging about how they are going to win, yet Mercedes are just saying we are not sure when.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        18th March 2022, 12:50

        Horner said they were “competitive without even really trying” and Leclerc said “it’s one of the smoothest pre-seasons he’s had in his career.” Plenty are saying thing are going well but obviously they don’t know the pace of the others yet. There’s only one team repeatedly claiming they are going to be slow.

        1. @petebaldwin And so? I don’t get all the umbrage even if Mercedes are talking nonsense. Red Bull launched a completely fake car at the start of the year, which was even ‘analysed’ by expert pundits, it’s all part of the circus of bluffing and rivalry.

      1. Probably the better question is if the non-mercedes fans aren’t tired of that and the answer is probably 95% yes.

  3. Pole, emphatic win.

    “What an amazing turnaround by us from where we were during testing. Big thanks to the guys at the factory working so hard to fix the problems we’ve been having.”

    1. You’re funny.

      You’re also proof of the old adage “there are none so blind as those who will not see”.

  4. Would have to agree with albo9. See the article in Racefans a few days ago about “MERCEDES CRYING WOLFF.” Mercedes has done this for many years. I am a big fan of both Toto and Lewis. But they actually complain more than any other team. Solely as a method for DECEPTION and DISINFORMATION. It’s kinda like, I hate to say it, “FAKE NEWS.” Ok, I realize, its just part of their strategy. But its getting way, way too long in the tooth. Especially after Seven Championships. Its time to give up on the “fake news stories” about how bad they are in practices, or whatever. They simply do that —-intentionally. Some of us are to easily persuaded by what we read, without questioning it further.
    My 2 cents

    1. Did you watch FP1? If so, what’s your conclusion? That Mercedes has a second on the field? Or you’re waiting for Sunday to confirm this?

      1. No, by next week, they’ll be spouting some conspiracy theory that Mercedes is hiding their true performance so the FIA won’t totally wreck the technical regulations and outlaw what is a perfectly legal (if unlikely) cooling solution that produces far more downforce for less drag.

        They’ll continue spouting this for the 3-4 weeks it takes Mercedes to resolve the porpoising issue, and then when Mercedes finally turns the power unit up to 10, they’ll all insist that they were right all along.

        Pseudo-intellectualism at its worst.

  5. Maybe F1 fans – at least those that comment here – aren’t really that intelligent.

    1. We shall see about that tomorrow, how slow this mercedes is.

  6. Also found the verstappen’s comment fun, joking about merc being dead last, since they always downplay themselves.

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