Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Hamilton to run “relatively extreme” low-downforce configuration in Canada

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton will conduct another set-up experiment for Mercedes at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix as the team strives to solve the problems with its W13.

The team is using race weekends to test different configurations for its car, which has lagged off the pace since the start of the season. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confirmed in Baku Hamilton had run experimental configuration on his car at the last three races, including changes to the floor at the previous round.

“I am trying a lot of the different, experimental things on the car to help us get data moving forward,” said Hamilton in response to a question from RaceFans.

“You’ll see today, for example, something relatively extreme. If it doesn’t work, it’s definitely a lot slower because it’s got less downforce.”

Hamilton admitted the decision to use race weekends to test changes to the car has compromised their performance at times.

“But that’s my role and I take the responsibility seriously,” he said. “And whilst, yes, it’s not been ideal on some weekend, often set us back because we lost a session or two, that’s okay, because eventually we’ll get there and I’m proud to have been a part of that process.”

He said he has a responsibility to help keep the team motivated in the midst of its least competitive start to a season since he joined them in 2013.

“I’m working as hard as I can, staying positive, coming off the back of a difficult year,” he said. “I’d like to think I’m the best team mate I have ever been, to George [Russell], but also to all the engineers, all the mechanics and everyone working in the factory and trying to keep everyone’s energy high.”

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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...
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...

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13 comments on “Hamilton to run “relatively extreme” low-downforce configuration in Canada”

  1. Lewis is one of the best drivers of all time and I am a massive fan.

    But honestly all this sounds like PR damage limitation after finishing behing George so often.

    I feel like no one can drive a good car better than him. I felt that nobody could driver a bad car better than him till 2013. But now, he is not that good at it. But knowing him, he will be soon.

    1. I disagree about this being PR. I think this speaks to just how bad things are for Merc. I doubt they’d be doing all this experimenting if their simulator was capable of accurately replicating how the car will/should behave. I think they’re lost and grasping at straws in hopes that some combination of changes will work.

    2. If you can only see this as PR then it says a lot about press up until now.

      The car won’t fix itself. If Hamlton had just settled for competition with his team mate the car would remain 3rd best.
      Hamilton is doing again what he did all those years ago when he first joined Mercedes, and helping to evolve the car.

      We know at the start of the season Hamilton has had extra sensors bolted to his car. This made it clear he was being used to gather data, and test theories on how they fix the issues they have with the car.

      What this often means is the first and second practices are often used by Hamilton to test, with the third practice to setup the car or qualifying. Unlike Russell, Hamilton has less time to set the car up for actual race and qualifying.

      Bottom line, the only way Mercedes can gather the data they need is for one of their drivers to sacrifie his season for the long term goal of the team. If you look back with this in mind, you’ll see this has been consistent.

      You might also want to read the following article from a while back. Finally the truth is getting out, as the journalists ask the questions which invite and confirm these answers. Its going to be while before the mislead public catches on.


  2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    17th June 2022, 18:10

    I bet George only thinks it’s fair if all other teams are doing it as well…

  3. Lol I assume he had violins playing in the background when he said this. Or maybe Netflix was there. Or both.

    I totally get their need to try different things, but I’m convinced more than ever that this ‘experiment’ verbiage has been brought out to cover for LH lagging behind GR. I just don’t buy that they can’t possibly use GR for an experiment or two. His feedback couldn’t be that far off of the more experienced LH. They brought him into the team as the heir apparent after all.

    I assume from his extreme low downforce comment they are going to raise his car (not trim his wings) today ahead of FIA officially clamping down on vertical acceleration over the coming races after this one, once they figure out how to quantify it, which is why LH is already setting us up to expect him to be slower. That and he already had his bones rattled enough last weekend and their hand is now forced to work towards a TD that they had a large part in instigating.

    Methinks TW doesn’t dare give both drivers the same setup for then he wouldn’t know what to tell the media when GR still outperforms LH. I trust they have a whambulance standing by this weekend.

    1. They could be using George as the control in their experiments. Put a radical setup on LH’s car and the usual one on GR’s car. If the experimental one seems better, put it on GR’s car and see if you get similar results. Lewis outdrove or at least was on par with Alonso at the height of his powers, out drove Rosberg and Bottas so why would he have trouble outdriving George who has only driven a glorified shopping cart?

      1. I doubt Russell is playing any part to improve the car, so he has the whole of 3 practice sessions to get his car in the right place.

        Hamilton has to juggle the time available in practice between these experiments and the actual race setup. This is naturally going to leave him worst off.

        The only way the car improves is via the data they obtain in practice and to some degree the actual race itself. I’d same Hamilton race last week with the extreem bouncing was 100% in experimental mode.

        They fundamentally need to redsign the cassis to make it stiffer whilst introducing other elements to improve ride.

        cheak out this Youtube from 2:00 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VRN2x8bTrg&list=PLVxtTOr4rZl3HHxkZ2DKkt8s7ufIhRqTl&index=16&t=3s

  4. I saw it is a prep for the media, we are trying something crazy and I may have awful times compared to George.

  5. The amount of hate this guy gets no matter what he says, meh.

    1. High trees catch lots of wind. Hundred times the called him the GOAT. Maybe he is, but the king is now beaten. A new king has arrived. That happens in any sport by the way.

  6. I hope Hamilton ends up alright after this weekend. He accepts it, and I guess maybe he can tolerate the status of the car’s behaviour?

  7. Hamilton is embarrassing himself here, they are both trying different setups, it just happens to be that Russell is better.

    He’s getting the excuses in already because he will know from the sim running George is levels above.

    You must be a special kind of dumb if you’re volunteering to be the sacrificial lamb with these dodgy setups.

  8. It’s a shame that all the experimental things they have tried on Hamilton’s car have made the car go slower every time.

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