Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku Street Circuit, 2022

Hamilton ‘losing over a tenth to Russell on the straight’ due to bouncing

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says the poor ride Mercedes have over the bumps in Baku is costing him more time than his team mate.

Team principal Toto Wolff confirmed Hamilton’s car is in a different configuration to that of his team mate George Russell due to the experiments the team is conducting to solve the problems with its W13.

“Today I was losing over a tenth just on the straight line because of the bottoming compared to George,” said Hamilton after qualifying. “So it is what it is, we keep working on it.”

The team appeared to make progress with its porpoising problem with the upgrade it introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix. But the behaviour has returned in Baku, where the long, bumpy straights appear to have exacerbated their familiar trouble with the W13.

“I miss already Barcelona, just driving down the straight no problem,” Hamilton admitted when asked by RaceFans. He noted his former team mate Valtteri Bottas, who is now at Alfa Romeo, is not experiencing the same problem.

“When I go and talk to some of the other drivers like Valtteri, I’m like, ‘have you got any bouncing?’ He’s like, ‘no’. Wow, can you imagine how nice that would be? We’ll get there eventually.”

The bouncing is especially acute for Hamilton due to the different floor he is running on his W13 this weekend. He said he was grateful for the help of his physiotherapist Angela Cullen after practice.

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“We had so much bottoming at the end of the straight [on Friday] that I couldn’t finish my long run,” he said. “My back was a real mess.

“Thank God for Angela. I’ve got Angela giving me physio every night and acupuncture. I woke up with quite a bit of pain [on Saturday]. Now we don’t have it as bad at the end of the straight but it’s through those corners, you’re just trying to keep it out of the wall.”

He hopes the car is less punishing to drive in race trim. “With the heavy fuel hopefully it will be less, I’m hoping.

“But we are very slow on the straight. I’m sure part of that is the bottoming that slows you down every time you touch the ground. The others also have like a Monza wing I think here, so we have a lot of work to do.”

Hamilton said he is putting in all the effort he can to help the team solve the problem, and worked into the early hours of Saturday morning after the opening day of practice.

“I was here to 1:30 last night,” he said. “I’m here studying, I’m doing everything I can. I’m working with the guys back at the factory. I was at the factory two days on the sim. I’m giving everything I can, there’s not much more I can do.”

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2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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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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    11 comments on “Hamilton ‘losing over a tenth to Russell on the straight’ due to bouncing”

    1. Talks about sacrificing yourself for the greater goal.

    2. I can easily imagine there being some serious health problems soon with some of the drivers if this continues.

      What about the long term consequences of having your brain being bounced around for two hours?
      Can’t be recommended can it?

      1. I’m surprised F1/FIA haven’t done something already

      2. It’s a common concern in sledding sports, where it is known as “sled head”. And those athletes do runs that last, at most, two minutes.

        Mercedes, and Ferrari to a lesser extent, should get on top of their porpoising issues to better serve their drivers. Other teams are showing that it is possible.

    3. The porpoising really has to be addressed on a FIA level. Not just team level.

      1. The teams are chasing performance, how is FIA gonna resolve it if it is a team problem. Even here they are experimenting, so if they indeed have concerns then they should just straight being their B-car or sacrifice performance for keeping the ride height higher.

      2. But even in this article, Bottas confirmed that they have no porpoising, so if it’s fixable by smaller teams, it’s fixable by all teams. Mercs concept clearly doesn’t work. They need to change the car.

      3. If it’s a health issue for Mercedes’ drivers, all they need to do is raise the ride height and the drivers will be a lot more comfortable.

        1. … and then find another way to generate downforce.

      4. Oh, I know the solution: The FIA adds a rule stating that a car bouncing above a certain amount gets a Black-Orange flag.
        I bet this isn’t the solution Mercedes is aiming / lobbying for, tough.

      5. That argument breaks down when you see teams who have solved the problem.

    Comments are closed.