Mercedes’ Barcelona upgrade “not working everywhere” – Hamilton

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton predicts the Baku City Circuit will ‘not be great’ for the Mercedes W13, but expects the team’s performance to be better than Monaco.

After starting the 2022 season off the pace of their rivals Red Bull and Ferrari due to severe porpoising on their car, Mercedes appeared to gain ground when they introduced a new upgrade package at the Spanish Grand Prix. However, the bumpy streets of Monaco caused further headaches for the team and they fell further back from the top two teams.

Heading into another street circuit this weekend in Azerbaijan, Hamilton believes Mercedes should enjoy better performance in Baku compared to Monaco.

“Lots of work’s gone on,” said Hamilton. “I’m hoping that it’s not as bumpy as Monaco, but we will find out when we get out there today. And like everyone has been saying, it’s lower downforce. Should be better – I hope so.”

The stiff suspension settings that Mercedes must run on their car to maximise the downforce efficiency on their W13 means they are weaker on street circuits than at permanent purpose-built circuits, Hamilton says.

“We’re obviously stronger on smoother circuits – Barcelona was a lot better for us, for example,” he explained.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Baku City Circuit, 2022
Gallery: Perez leads Leclerc as Red Bull encounter DRS trouble in first practice
“There’s more open circuits that aren’t as bumpy. This is a bumpier circuit, so not necessarily great for the characteristics within our car, but it might be smoother and might be okay.”

Mercedes have been trying to catch up to their rivals ahead since the start of the season. Hamilton says the upgrades introduced in Barcelona have gone a long way towards putting the team on the right path but are not a cure-all.

“The new direction that we’ve got to in Barcelona has given us more of a direction to go in and that’s been positive, I would say, so far,” Hamilton said. “But it’s not working everywhere.

“Can I say it’s the most exciting journey? No. But it is an experience and it’s bringing the team closer, it’s making us all have to sharpen our tools.

“The technology is advancing a lot to be able to understand it and we’re pulling closer than ever before. So I think we’re a more tight unit team that we’ve ever been and I guess that’s what happens when you’re faced with adversity. And so there’s lots and lots of positives from it.”

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2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
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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2 comments on “Mercedes’ Barcelona upgrade “not working everywhere” – Hamilton”

  1. No it wont. Their solution is to run the car really low to the ground which mean stiffening it up. On bumpy street tracks, that’s bad news but on the purpose built tracks (which is what most of the remaining tracks on the calendar are), they’ve shown they have good pace

    Canada isn’t too bumpy even though it’s not a permanent circuit but then we go to Silverstone where I’d expect them to be pretty quick.

    1. Hence Mercedes experimental setups in the first 2 practices at Monaco. They were gathering data again to test how stiff they could go, and what they needed to adjust else where to manage that stiffer lower ride.

      I wonder what Mercedes will be playing with in the first 2 practices of these circuit… I imagine well see again differences between tdrivers setups in their efforts to gather the widest breath of data.

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