Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2022

Hamilton: Mercedes’ low-speed weakness “worse than expected” in Monaco

2022 Monaco Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ handling problems are more severe than they predicted after qualifying eighth for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Before the race weekend began, team principal Toto Wolff said they were concerned the W13’s low-speed cornering performance would prove a weakness around Monte Carlo.

The team suffered severe bouncing in practice. Overnight changes seemed to ease those problems, Hamilton said, but the car lacked pace. Neither Mercedes got within seven-tenths of a second of pole-winner Charles Leclerc.

“We have poor rear downforce,” Hamilton explained. “Loads of front but nothing on the rear.”

“Today it felt better, but we seem to be slower,” he added. “I don’t know really why. It felt like we improved the car in terms of bouncing but it feels slower.”

He believes the car’s performance over the bumps is exacerbating their low-speed handling difficulties.

“We weren’t very good in the low-speed in the last race anyway,” he said. “In the race it was okay but [not] on a single lap.

“So [we] anticipated it would be difficult here. I think it’s worse than we anticipated because of the bumps. It’s super bouncy for us everywhere. Slow, medium and high, so challenging.

Hamilton was unable to complete his final flying lap in Q3 due to the red flags for Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz Jnr’s crashes.

“I think it wasn’t looking too bad before that but this sort of thing happens,” he said. “It is what it is.”

That left him eighth on the grid, one place lower than he qualified last year. Unless rain falls during tomorrow’s race, Hamilton doubts he will be able to do anything to improve his position.

“You can’t overtake here,” he said. “I’m hoping that the weather plays up and it creates opportunities, maybe people do different strategies. It’d be nice to have some luck for once.”

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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...
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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33 comments on “Hamilton: Mercedes’ low-speed weakness “worse than expected” in Monaco”

  1. Aren’t they one of the best cars in the slow speed corners? I thought that they were the best or at least second best behind Ferrari. What on earth is this by Hamilton?

    1. Struggles of a non-winning car. Is it me or just HAM is complaining? I barely see any titles with RUS complaining.

      1. Russell was driving a Williams last year. Give him a potato to drive and he will say “thank you”.

      2. or was Hamilton asked the question, for which he gave an honest answer….

    2. They were never good at slows speeds. What are you talking about? Just look at sector 3 in Barcelona.

    3. You musts be basing that comment on their previous spec car. This year they all on a new spec and so their previous form doesn’t count for anything. This is all about down force delivered by the ground effect.

      That said ive not heard of Mercedes increasing their rear wing, which they swapped for a smaller rear to curb the Porpoising effect. This track with so many demanding corners would surely benifit from the bigger, higher downforce rear wing.

      Once again lady luck plays a part in the outcome.

    4. @krichelle
      The Mercedes was very quick in the low speed corners before Barcelona. Apparently their Barcelona update has improved the performance in high speed corners and straightline speed, but they have to set up the car very stiff to get the laptime out of it.
      The last thing you need in Monaco is a stiff car, because that hurts the traction out of the low speed corners and you can’t attack the kerbs aggressively enough.
      Now Mercedes needs to deal with this issue and find a way to improve performance in low speed corners, without having to make big compromises on the setup.
      I expect them to suffer at the coming two rounds at Baku and Montreal, but be competitive at Silverstone and Paul Ricard.

      1. Stiff suspension is bounded to the way aero works. Soften suspension porpoising is there, make it harder aero works but there goes the traction. The problem is rooted in fundamentals of the car design. It was intended to work hard way, low suspension travel. They took this route a long time ago.

        1. You need to soften the suspension at Monaco. Otherwise, you will be flying when hitting the kerbs or even the bumps. They need a car with soft springs here at Monaco. It looks like they have gone with more high speed cornering, sacrificing some of the performance in the slow speed corners. I mean… you have less tracks with slow speeds than high speeds.. They really sort of messed up their car this year but we’ll see how the season goes on.

          1. You could see how both Mercedes were avoiding the yellow curbing at the end of the swimming pool section like it was mined. Not even getting close to it. Ferrari and RBR could hit that, settle the car and accelerate. If it rains it can only be more painful as you need some weight transfer in the suspension.

  2. GP2 traction?!

    1. Fernando Hamilton ?
      Modérators, and MG1982, sorry, i accidentally reported the comment, but it was a mystake ! My bad, really !
      Could we think about a button that allow to cancel the comment report when we accidentally hit it ? (We have the seven dragon balls, we can make the comment live again 😁)

      1. And then an edit button, so we’ll end up with 4 buttons!

  3. Back to normal for Mercedes then.

    1. It’s not fair to say that although it seems like it. With the car prior to Miami they would be out in Q1. Monaco exponentially exposes their weaknesses. They’ll learn a lot this weekend and you’ll see a lot of good things coming from this squad, in the near future I hope.

      1. I’d put money on it that they will be bouncing like a kangaroo down the Baku straight.

        1. You should have seen W13’s bouncing amplitude in Spain. Save your money mate.

          1. Erm Baku is a street track with a bumpy surface and with a straight long enough to land a mirage 2k.

  4. Sir Lewis “If you think what you saw at the end of the last year was my best, wait till you see this year” Hamilton with yet another magnificent performance, this time nearly 0.5s slower in qualifying than his team mate. While Russell quietly gets on with his job, putting Mercedes where it belongs or even higher, primadonna on the other side of the silver garage preferes to be involved into drama and advocates for lesser driver safety, openly supporting body damage caused by jewelry in case of a fire. Truly the GOAT!

    1. Why let the facts get in the way of a good gloat.

      In this case the qualifying was aborted when there would have been enough time on an improving track for Hamilton to finish with a faster time.

      This is all about circumstance, not the driver. Its also interesting to note that up until Russells last effort Hamilton was consistently ahead of his team mate. Make of that what you will.

      1. You want to talk about facts? Here they are, best sector times in qualifying, including the last lap in Q3 that Hamilton had to abort due to red flags:

        Russell 18.981 + 34.016 + 19.115 = 1:12.112 (IT and PB time)
        Hamilton 19.142 + 34.183 + 19.092 = 1:12.417 (Q3 time = 1:12.560)

        This still would put Russel 3 tenths ahead of THE GOAT. Apparently the best ever F1 driver is getting outqualified and outraced by his new team mate, making staggeringly idiotic strategy choices the process (Saudi Arabia, Imola). These are facts.

        1. Before this season a lot of people were predicting George would wipe the floor with Lewis. At the time I thought it was just digs at Lewis’ titles against inferior team mates but thought he would ultimately come out on top with his experience.

        2. Ok lets expand on your facts.

          The Mercedes are in the position of having to use their practices, and to some extent their races to gather data to improve the car. This necessitates different setups on the cars. I had hope both cars would be on the same setup for qualifying, at least for Monaco where track position means a lot more than race pace. In other words there is more much more to this situation, than what seems obvious.

          You may want to read the follow:

    2. stupidity of the paperchamp fan who got beaten by his wingman

    3. Still the most successful driver of all time though!

  5. @Armchair. You must be revelling in your seat watching lewis have bad luck. Lewis was consistently faster this weekend thus far than russell. Russell has just again been lucky. But luck always runs out sooner or later… Or maybe the race Gods have destined the most underserving non white racer to ever sit in an F1 seat to have soo many accomplishments. Lewis must be a really really bad driver below average. I mean who knew of him while driving in tbe lower series etc. He was not heard of. There were no expectations of his dominance when he came to F1. And once here all his accomplishments are flukes, car, luck, strategy or predistined plan by powers that be. But nothing can be attributed to him. Im sure his car is actually remotely controlled when he was winning. He only drives it when he has bad days. Ye that must be it. Because how CAN he be that good. Its just not fair. Oh BOO HOO!!!

    1. Hamilton luck lasted for 7-8 years, i suppose Russel can have half of if at least.

    2. Lewis was consistently faster this weekend thus far than russell. Russell has just again been lucky.

      Do you understand that the only thing that matters is the final position in qualifying, right? Especially in Monaco of all places, where you build your speed over all sessions to deliver the lap in Q3? And once again Russell beat Sir Lewis Hamilton, the Greatest Of All Time, fair and square, just like he’s done it in Saudi Arabia, Imola, Spain. Where’s luck in that Hamilton can’t drive as fast as his team mate?

      1. Very same applies to the paperchamp. Both didnt have the chance to deliver their last run. While HAM was faster than his teammate in all qualy runs the paperchamp was behind his wingman all the time.

      2. I dont believe anyone ever claimed Lewis as the GOAT cant ever be beaten. Even schumacher was beaten in his day. So was Fangio, alonso, prost senna. All tbe legends were beaten from time to time.doesnt diminish their status or talent thought. So why should it lewis?

  6. RomTrain well said! A logical person we have here. Very hard to find these days. People who actually see the historical facts and not the fantastical delusions.

    1. Logical person calling verstappen paper champion? What world did we end up in!

  7. @ exploratore if u watched the last race and indeed the whole year then you should have seen the very many cockups by the FIA and the final gifting of the championship to max at its end. Try to view the championship from a neutral point of view and not let your biasness or prejudice get in the way.

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