Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Delighted Hamilton says Mercedes upgrade has brought rivals within range

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton is hopeful Mercedes can get within range of Ferrari and Red Bull after their new aerodynamic package gave promising results in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes have been as much as a second per lap slower than Ferrari and Red Bull over the opening races of the season. However, they ended Friday practice at the Circuit de Catalunya second and third on the times sheets.

George Russell set the second-quickest time of all, a tenth of a second off pace-setter Charles Leclerc. Hamilton lapped within a tenth of a second of his team mate.

Mercedes brought a swathe of updates for their problematic W13 in Spain. They include several revisions to the floor intended to change the under-body aerodynamics, in order to address the porpoising problems which have troubled the team all year. Its front wing endplates have also been modified.

Hamilton said the first day of running with the updated car had been “positive” for the team. “I’m super-happy with the progress so a big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory for not giving up and for continuing to push.

“We’re not the quickest yet but I think we’re on our way.”

He said the porpoising the team experienced before has lessened in Spain. “It’s the first time we’ve driven down the straight without bouncing,” Hamilton said. “We’ve still got bouncing but it’s way better. So it’s starting to eke into a bit of the potential in our car.”

Mercedes performed well in Friday’s practice for the Miami Grand Prix, only to slip back to their usual performance level in qualifying and the race. However Hamilton is optimistic about their chances this weekend.

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“It’s still tough out there with the car but it’s much nicer than it’s been before so I’m really grateful for those upgrades,” he said. “We just need to fine-tune them into the next session.

“So overnight there’s lots of data to go over and try to position the car. I think we can get it into an even better place for tomorrow so hopefully we can tackle the heels of the guys up ahead.”

Russell said the W13 is “definitely reacting differently” since the upgrade. “We’ve got different limitations this time.

“We definitely don’t have the porpoising in the straight which is good but we’re still experiencing it a bit here and there in the corners and ultimately you need to dial it out through the corners.”

However he isn’t convinced the team will be able to out-pace Red Bull again on Saturday. “Red Bull still look very, very strong, they look a team to be reckoned with at the moment,” he said.

Nonetheless Russell shares Hamilton’s belief that there is more to come from the upgraded car.

“I see no reason why we can’t be as far away from the front as we showed, if not a little bit closer,” he said. “But there’s differences with power modes. I think Ferrari and Red Bull were in their lowest power modes so they’ve got a bit on us there.”

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2022 Spanish 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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27 comments on “Delighted Hamilton says Mercedes upgrade has brought rivals within range”

  1. I agree with George – Red Bull were suspiciously quiet – but anything that gets them tackling the heels (?!) and bringing on a three-team battle has to be good.

    1. @bullfrog I assume it’s a football metaphor – he’s trying to buy a team isn’t he?

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        20th May 2022, 19:56

        @keithcollantine

        do you mean football as in the sport where players hold an egg-shaped ball?

      2. Buy a team? More like co-own an excutive box ;)

    2. Yes. The analogy would be that they couldn’t get near “the heels” to be in with a chance of tackling, so to now be able to do so is progress.

      Nice analogy actually and delighted to see Lewis less grumpy

      1. Does he mean tackle their back wheel with his front? ;)

      2. Haha, yes – it’d be a cynical foul, probably a yellow card, but at least they’re within range to have a go.

    3. From fp1 onboard with Max you could tell that car comes out if the last corner on rails. Also what a massive rear wing that red bull has, it is an early 90’s wing.

  2. The Dolphins
    20th May 2022, 18:45

    I think Ferrari and Red Bull were in their lowest power modes so they’ve got a bit on us there.

    This is an important point. It’s not secret all Mercedes-powered cars have been struggling this season. Even if Mercedes develop the best chassis/aero I believe they are still under-powered compared to Red Bull and Ferrari.

    1. Red Bull was more underpowered against Mercedes in 2021 (and before) than Mercedes is in 2022, so it shouldn’t be an excuse when not being competetive.

      1. RB was on the same level last year, with many tracks were they have been significantly stronger.

        1. They’re talking about engine power. Red Bull have never been significantly faster in a straight line until this year.

          1. I guess I need to rewatch Monza, Mexico and Baku. Cause I dont remember Merc had the superior straight line speed there.

    2. I think a good tell tale sign is to keep an eye on the other Merc PU teams and see how they’re doing. I would think if the Merc PU’s found some strength then you probably see Williams and AM also pick up lap times as well? Right now, based on FP times, the Mercedes PU teams are not looking so strong.

  3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    20th May 2022, 18:55

    With all the complaining of Sky Sports and this site about how ‘unfair’ it was for Hammilton that he didn’t have the best car for once, I can still hope for a repeat of last race.

    1. At times I wonder what kind of thought process leads to a comment like this but I don’t make much headway.

      1. his profile pic tells you everything one needs to know

    2. @barryfromdownunder Cheers mate! I needed some help with my insomnia…

    3. Lewis still living rent free in there eh… shouldn’t you be busy looking for an apartment for Leclerc in there?

  4. The extreme heat definitely seems to help the Merc with its tyre temp issues.
    Ferrari look good for pole but the RB looks to have solid race pace so hopefully we get another duel between Charles and Max.

  5. That story made me happy – if FP2 is any indication of the rest of the season, we are in for an exciting 6 horse race for the season titles. Mathematically all 6 are still eligible to win the title.

  6. Here we go, here we go, here we go… to copy that footy anthem.

    This is no less than I was expecting this week.

    The last time out, they trialed these upgrades. This time around the upgrades have been confirmed. Now we have a chance of a three way run into the remainder of this championship. We have a chance provided Mercedes doesn’t divide its forces with inter-driver rivalries. I Expect Red-bull to fan those flames.

    I imagine the upgrades will centre on the floor design especially now Mercedes has had a chance to see the underside of the Redbulls and the Ferrais.

    ….here we go.

  7. Well that all sounds promising. Oh how I hope it translates into qualy and race pace. It’d be so good to have 6 cars at the front relatively evenly matched on pace. Lewis may well come alive again too.

  8. I told you so.

  9. I hate to say i told you so too so i wont say i told you so. I rather wait until after the race to say i told you so. Just so that i can say i told you so.

    1. Told us what?

  10. Let’s see what the race brings, but both Lewis and George have the ability if the car gives them a chance.

    If the car isn’t bouncing in the braking zones, that will bring huge chunks of time through confidence alone.

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