Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 2022

Hamilton encouraged by Mercedes upgrade but “still struggling” with rear balance

2022 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton praised the improvement Mercedes has made to its car at the Spanish Grand Prix.

However he admitted he is still not satisfied with the rear end balance in his W13.

Hamilton took sixth on the grid for tomorrow’s race, two places behind team mate George Russell, who was six-tenths of a second off the pace set by Charles Leclerc. The seven-times world champion said this showed the gains the team has made with the upgrade it introduced this weekend.

“We’ve now made this step and that’s something we’ve not seen for five races,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “Finally we’re seeing that step and we think we have a better idea of the direction we need to go.

“Now I’m just waiting for the engineers, the aerodynamicists, just to come through with some more bits for us to progress.”

The porpoising which has plagued the team since the season began is much improved, Hamilton confirmed.

“We don’t have the bouncing in a straight line which is a huge, huge difference. But we still have the bouncing in turn three and turn nine so we’ve still go some improvements to make but the car’s a lot [better].”

However Hamilton admitted “qualifying wasn’t great for me” after Russell out-paced him by a tenth of a second. He apologised to his team on the radio after session, saying he was “struggling with rear end” in his car.

Despite the gains Mercedes have made this weekend, Hamilton is not dwelling on the possibility it could put him back in contention for the championship this year.

“I’m not really putting my mind to that,” he said. “I’m still way off.

“My team mate’s fourth so that means the car should be at least fourth, and I’m sixth. I’m struggling with the car. I don’t know how to get around that, I don’t know when I’m going to do it.

“But I will keep continuing to try and work hard and figure it out.”

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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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13 comments on “Hamilton encouraged by Mercedes upgrade but “still struggling” with rear balance”

  1. Hmm its the driver not the car, as I have read here so many times…

  2. Honest appraisal of his own performance from Hamilton. As the purpoising eases and the downforce improves, there should also be a net gain in driver confidence with the car too. My hunch just now is that this is Red Bull/Verstappen for the season. But what Mercedes do have is two top drivers able to hassle Leclerc and Verstappen and, if the gap closes further, stay ahead of Sainz and Perez fairly consistently.

    1. @david-br Looking possible but let’s see how tire wear goes for Mercedes once racing in anger. A struggle for balance is not good for the tires. So for me hassling CL and MV and being ahead of CS and SP is premature to think about for now since we haven’t seen what Mercedes is really going to do in the race, and everyone has more upgrades to bring yet, so Mercedes is chasing a moving target.

      1. @robbie All true, though I did say if the gap closes further – this race may be too soon but it should allow them to a better understanding of the new components and so further adjustments for the coming races.

  3. What do drivers always say when they qualify behind teammate?

    Car was awful,
    Balance was poor,
    Struggled with traction in the rear,
    Poor turn in in the front,
    Lack of overall grip..

    Meanwhile George got the job done and is probably – rightfully pleased with exact same car.

    LeClerc probably is happy too, despite Verstapprn having more speed but not when it was time to deliver in q3.

    Hamilton is now in full on Alonso mode – exceptionall racing drivet, GOAT in his mind, but not much results this year.

    1. I’m struggling with the car. I don’t know how to get around that, I don’t know when I’m going to do it.

      Hamilton fully accepted he was to blame for not being as fast @jureo
      Why be so dishonest in your comment?

      1. I don’t understand such takes either. Some people just love taking shots at Lewis regardless of what he says or does. They’re probably coming each time he’s beaten by George – good for them.

        1. I always reckoned Russell would be closer to Hamilton even than Rosberg, so with Lewis out of sorts this season so far, it doesn’t surprise me in the least he’s ahead. But it would also be unsurprising if Lewis picks up the performance soon.

  4. Does anyone know if Hamilton car is still carrying those extra sensors. I ask because there is still work to do and so it makes sense that Mercedes would still be evaluating the cars, seeking the most data todo so.

    1. Don’t know about sensors but there must be a sandbag stuck in an intake or something.

    2. Didn’t notice the “light” shining on the track this time from the optical slip angle sensor he had previously, so I would say no extra sensors for Lewis this time, it was all down to pure pace (the sensor was said to weigh than 1.5kg in total, so equivalent to less than 2 litres of extra fuel, so not a massive disadvantage in any case)

  5. I was at qualifying today in person (see my insta @f1_gresty. I could see turns 1,2,3 and 5 and I can definitely confirm Hamilton is struggling with the rear. He was visibly struggling with it so I was surprised actually how close to the others he was. If he can sort it out for future races he could easily be a force to reckon with once again.

  6. If Hamilton was happy with the car and this was the best he could do… would look worst for him. But we’ll see in the race and incidentally Russell complained about the rear as well, but seems to be coping better.

    Looks like their season has finally started.

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