Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Mercedes ‘need more grip and more power’ – Hamilton

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes need to find more all-round performance after his 10th place finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

He went out in the first round of qualifying on Saturday and although he climbed as high as sixth place at one point in the race, he fell to 10th at the flag.

“We need more grip, we need more power,” Hamilton told media including RaceFans afterwards.

Mercedes’ performance has been compromised by ‘proposing’ problems on its car. Hamilton said set-up changes had reduced the bouncing during today’s race, however he feels the car remains weaker than the competition in terms of straight-line speed.

“We didn’t have any porpoising today,” he said. “[But] we’re still really down on the speed trace.

“So I don’t know, it’s not just one fix, it’s several things. I don’t know how much drag we have compared to the others but it feels like a lot.”

After working his way forward in the first half of the race and running behind team mate George Russell, Hamilton lost ground when he didn’t come into the pits during a Virtual Safety Car period.

“The end result is obviously not great,” he said. “The race was going, I think, relatively well on the on the hard tyre.

“I was keeping up with George and I think putting in some decent time considering how old the hard tyres were. But the strategy at the end, I don’t know if it was strategy or just with the VSC, we lost out so much. We’ll keep working hard and just keep fighting. It’s all we can do.”

Hamilton said it feels like the team are “a long way away” from the front-runners. “Right now we’re not fighting for the top step. We’re still far off the guys ahead. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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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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34 comments on “Mercedes ‘need more grip and more power’ – Hamilton”

  1. They are missing loads of power. I can see them fighting in Italy despite the straights.

  2. After how many races in MB a driver gets the No1 status? 3-4?

    1. I luv chicken
      27th March 2022, 21:22

      Excellent comment. Lewis is well on his way to score 60 points.

    2. number one status to fight for what again?

    3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      27th March 2022, 21:25

      Gave Hamilton the benefit of the doubt in the predictions, won’t make that mistake again. Didn’t think Russell would get atop of the MB so quickly.

      1. I do like the idea that Hamilton went from having a near-flawless close to the 2021 season, fighting tooth and nail with Max (and coming out on top in those racing duels), to a level below George a few months later.

        Hamilton has looked faster in race trim in both races so far, and it’s 1-1 in qualifying (with each driver under-performing in one qualifying session, due to being unable to get the car in the right window). You’ll need a few more data points to support your statement above.

        My own reading of Hamilton is that he’s lost a tenth of ultimate qualifying pace over the last couple of seasons, but is still at the top of his game in the races. Decline is inevitable at some point, but I don’t think so yet.

        1. Hamilton is generally weaker in the first half of the season, it’s nothing new.

          He didn’t make any errors and drove a solid race, 6th was there if not for the bizzare strategy not to pit for new tyres at the first SC and if the pits didn’t close just when he wanted to pit under the VSC.

          5th and 6th is about the best that midfield car is capable of right now.

    4. Merc usually dont do the wingman strategy (in the first half of the season), unlike some other teams – most obviously RBR.

      Maybe this year they wont be fighting for WDC at all, lets see.

      1. @romtrain you missed the years where it seemed other teams were competitive with Mercedes. Plenty of wingman strategies.

      2. Bahrein 2018, second race, they left Bottas out after Vettel pit to slow him down. Similar to what RB did with Perez in Abu Dhabi last year, but it was the second race

      3. @romtrain “Merc usually dont do the wingman strategy (in the first half of the season), unlike some other teams – most obviously RBR.” I think one could easily argue that the very retaining of VB by five years of single season contract after contract shows that they were happy to not have a teammate for LH that would compete against him. They even often referenced how happy and peaceful it was in their garage vs the actual rivalry that thrilled us that was LH v NR.

    5. In 2017 after Baku’s Bottas retirement for a puncture Wolff said his championship fight was over and he needed to help Lewis, it was the fourth race if I remember correclty

  3. I think both Mercedes did fine today. I think they have too much drag on their car, as its high end acceleration that they lack. They could probably live with setting the car for the race if overtaking is easy because they are a clear 3rd best in race pace for now. I think without the interventions today, Lewis would have finished 6th. I’d imagine that they feel better with no porpoising in the race today, but they are lonely since they are a clear 3rd best with nobody close to them.

    1. I disagree, I think Lewis finished where he deserved to finish, interventions or not, he had to pit for new tyres from 6th, which was always going to drop him back. He was soundly out performed by George.

  4. the only reason for my happiness with the mercedes (being a merc fan) misery is that toto W gets to eat the humble pie. the team is great but looked like Toto was getting carried away like a dictator…

    seeing Merc racing with haas i sure hope made him aware of gravity

    1. “‘ … need more grip and more power’” What an odd idea! People in hell want ice water, too.

      1. ” … more power and more grip” yes, I seem to recall hearing that lament a few times over the years too.
        As for T. Wolff sounding like a dictator, I think he is allowed to do that. He does own 1/3rd of the team.
        Interesting that it isn’t called “Ineos-Wolff F1 Team”

  5. Electroball76
    27th March 2022, 22:08

    So if the tiny sidepods concept provides them with high drag and low grip then what are the benefits exactly? I suppose at least they are still outpacing their customer teams.

    1. The main problem seems to be the engine to me with all the Merc powered teams struggling. Maybe the Mercedes car has pretty good aero to be the 3rd fastest team.

      1. @G – That makes sense to me

  6. It could be russel is used to an imperfect car. The previous MB was well understood, now Toto has to park the smugness 😏 that’s fun to watch.

  7. K’Mag – “The car had half a second in it”
    Ham – “We need more grip, we need more power,”
    LOL

  8. First time admitting that power is down. Aero can be fixed but if there’s a fundamental problem with the engine they’re stuck for 3 years
    Also interesting to see GR all round performance significantly better than LH. Similar happened to MS in his latter years.

  9. Extremely lucky to score one point after such abysmal driving. Nikita would have done better, and George drives circles around.

    1. I don’t know, I wasn’t impressed by hamilton this race, I said it before that I wanted to see how he would handle on a subpar car, and now that he had to recover from 15th place with a car that is capable of 5th\6th, I was expecting something more, but he also got unlucky with the VSC timing, otherwise would’ve been closer to the 6th goal.

      An interesting thing I noticed is that when he and magnussen were both on hard tyres, merc was significantly faster, so he passed him kinda easily, and then when they were both on mediums they had the same pace and he couldn’t close the gap, before seeing that happen I’d have expected he’d have overtaken magnussen before the end, but there was no way.

      1. @esploratore1 the VSC timing was not THAT unlucky to be honest. He lost one place to Magnussen, correct, but that was it. Also he was clearly told to box by the team before the VSC was activated (while exiting the last corner), but for whatever reason he didn’t listen.
        Also we saw Alonso and Bottas dropping out who were on to finish ahead of him, so basically on his own power that would’ve been P11-P12 depending on whether one feels he would’ve stayed ahead of Magnussen if he hadn’t ignored the box call.

        1. I don’t know what reality you live in but the world feed specifically showed a replay of Hamilton communicating with the team saying the Mclaren is slowing down (anticipating a VSC/SC) and the team then telling him to pit, only after he had passed the pit lane entry by few hundred meters. He was all ready driving past the track side of the pit wall when they told him that.

    2. In any case I definitely feel hamilton needs to do something special with a bad car to convince me and other skeptical people, because he really had a super car for a very long time, and the first half of 2009, the only other time he had a bad car, there were very good and very bad performances as I recall.

      1. Where were you before 2014? Hamilton has nothing left to prove. You folks have very short memory.

  10. Many of us did suspect Merc was down on engine power since Race 1. Now Merc finally “admit” it

  11. We can see that even with a missing power and grip car, Hamilton has passed all the middle and front field and end up in a victory as he did in Brasil.
    So the car has nothing to do with it.

    Oh wait !

  12. Lewis has one bad weekend with a poor car after qualifying with bad setup, and people start questioning his entire career and skill. Come on folks. Grow up a little.

    1. @André
      Welcome to the internet

  13. thanks alot of information

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