Mercedes’ performance in Canada ‘gives us a lot of hope” – Hamilton

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Mercedes have glimpsed the potential in their car with their encouraging performance in the Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has said.

The seven-times world champion finished third in yesterday’s race ahead of team mate George Russell. He came in seven seconds behind Max Verstappen after a Safety Car period eradicated his 27-second deficit to the leader earlier in the race.

Hamilton was encouraged to see he could briefly stay in touch with Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr after the final restart. “It feels great today to be in amongst the battle,” he said after the race.

“For a second, at the end there, I was just about keeping up with these guys. But then they pulled away at the end. But it’s given me and the team a lot of hope.”

Mercedes have endured a difficult start to the season with their W13, which has not yielded the expected levels of performance and has frequently subjected its drivers to heavy porpoising and bouncing. Now Hamilton believes the team are starting to make progress with it.

“I think that there’s more to come from this car,” he said. “The potential is truly there if we can get the set-up right.

“That’s been the most difficult thing this year, really trying to optimise the set-up. The window for this car is much, much smaller than any other car we’ve experienced.”

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The team have experimented with extreme configurations in their efforts to understand and solve their problems. One such experiment on Friday left Hamilton describing his car as a “disaster”. After moving closer to his team mate’s set-up, Hamilton said the car performed much better.

George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
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“We tried two different avenues and the avenue I was down was dreadful,” he said. “So we collated all the data we had and we made drastic changes to the set-up. And it was much, much nicer today. More in line with what we anticipated and it was good.

“When you get a full race distance in, you find a lot of things out about the car and the relationship you have with the car and data, et cetera. So, there’s a lot to take from today.”

“The balance I had on [Friday] was neutral, super-positive, so no rear end,” he added. “As soon as you apply one degree of turning, the rear end’s come around.

“I was just fighting that constantly and it was very difficult to keep it out of the wall. That’s why I didn’t finish my long run, because it was just undriveable in the set-up window that we tried. It was just an experiment, to see whether the car would work there, and it didn’t.

“So then we made the changes and today was a much better balance in terms of I had a little, nice amount of understeer today, better traction, not having those snaps. So, it was night-and-day difference. [But] we still have bouncing, that’s not going away.”

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2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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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...

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28 comments on “Mercedes’ performance in Canada ‘gives us a lot of hope” – Hamilton”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    20th June 2022, 11:53

    What the absolute fluke result following perez and leclerc issues, alonso issues and Mercedes seemingly sabotaging russell strategy for no reason. Hamilton seems to be flip flop by the day. I really hope Mercedes keep mucking up the car – a nice few years in the midfield will be relief to us all.

    1. Merc didnt sabotage Russels strategy, just this time they didnt mess up Lewis, KMag didnt cause a flat spot, and the SC didnt cost him placed.

      But keep making up your own reality due to your anti HAM bias. There are so many stupid ones around here, so there is enough company.

      1. Victor Gbolade
        20th June 2022, 18:05

        @RomTrain: You are very right about what you said… The last times have favoured George, which from my own point of view was okay. So, if Lewis gets this opportunity to tank some positive vibes, he should not be allowed to…
        Really interesting to see, what some people think about Lewis…

    2. Sabotaging Russell’s strategy? Tell us how, exactly. Russell didn’t seem to complain about the strategy.

      I’m pretty sure the scenario was this: Mercedes wanted to guarantee both cars finishing, and both cars with a chance of podium. Both drivers had their firs pitstops within the VSC window, and their second stops were also identical. How was that sabotaging? Russell started a few positions behind and stayed behind as both had similar pace, although Lewis finished the race a net 13-15s ahead if you take SC out of the equation.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        20th June 2022, 13:53

        Russell pitted 10 laps later than Hamilton in the first stint – Hamilton in the first VSC and Russell in the second one. Russell could have gone longer in the middle stint (the same length as Hamilton’s middle stint) and he could have then attacked later in the race on fresh tyres. As it turned out, he could have come in under the SC if he’d not pitted really early… Obviously the person he’d be attacking would be Hamilton so they were keen to avoid that.

        It makes sense as a team strategy but Russell very much played the wingman role here. He was told to let Hamilton past after the first stop (the VSC came out before Lewis caught him) and then he wasn’t given the strategy to benefit from his long first stint.

        1. Russell was 1 second behind Hamilton after the safety car and couldn’t keep pace with him, falling to 5 seconds back at the flag. And his tires were a lap younger.

        2. That’s your conjecture, without knowing what was the degradation level that George was experiencing. He chose higher downforce for the race and could have been asking more from the tyres, thus needing to pit earlier. I don’t know if that was the case, but it could have been. He did not complain about the strategy, did he? When he had 10 laps younger tyres he was not able to make substantial inroads towards Hamilton. At no point in the race was he a threat to Hamilton. Neither with same strategy, nor with offset tyres.

    3. I’m no Hamilton fan, but claiming Merc deliberately sabotages the race of their other driver is just as absurd as all the similar stories about RB and Max.

  2. Somehow I feel like these “glimpses” might very well bite them in their proverbial behinds. It may give them a false idea that their base design is good to build upon, when it might just remain a very peaky design that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t work at all. In that case these glimpses of performance could be a disadvantage when without these they might have already decided to call it quits and start a new design for next year.

    Of course, they know way way more than I ever will and the base design might be solid.
    Time will tell.

    1. I was thinking something similar, @mattds, I sometimes get the feeling they are trying really extreme things on setup, because they ‘know’ the car has the potential to be near the front, and they only need to find it. In previous seasons they could simply focus on getting a good, ‘normal’ setup.

    2. @mattds , they were 7 and 12 seconds behind Verstappen and Sainz after the last 10 lap sprint. Ok, they didn’t need to push as hard as the leaders, but still…
      And in the post race interviews Toto was saying that the current car concept is not working and they will abandon it (or with a bit different wording). That says enough…

      1. @ricod I’m not sure that’s what he said… Reading it back I take it as him saying they have to fully understand the W13 first before commencing the W14 – meaning they might as well carry on building on the current concept if they think it could still be salvaged and turn out into a good car.

        1. I hope for Larbelestier’s sake that the Merc designers are on here to pick up that bit of insight.

          1. I think I indicated in my first post how I know infinitely less than the intelligent people at Mercedes.

            That goes for all of us, but we still discuss at length about even the most technical topics, don’t we?

  3. I seem to recall they said something similar after The Spanish GP – we know what happened after that.

    Hopefully this time it’s not another false dawn.

    1. Yeah, but at Barcelona they seem to have cured the porpoising. They could run the cars lower and extract more performance. In the subsequent street races they had to fight bumps. With stiff suspension and lower floor they were caught by bottoming and bouncing. Somehow they seem to have found some light at the end of the tunnel in Montreal. The upcoming circuits are more traditional racing circuits, so I expect to see them to be more on top of what the current Mercedes can do.

  4. Lewis got the vapors. The last laps didn’t show anything. Hamilton ended up like 5s back and Russell was no where. So even in a 10 lap race against RBR and Ferrari they get blown away. But for the three race neutralizations they would finish near the end of the leap lap. They need to give themselves a trophy for winning the windtunnel-WCC and focus on a clean sheet of paper now for next year.

    1. I think once Hamilton knew he was comfortably in 3rd, he just toned it down. The key to this season will be engine penalties, and so can’t blaim Hamilton for not driving alike a fool, just because he can. The Redbull and the Ferrari had to really push and they’ll pay for that later in the season.

      1. Hmm I’m certainly not convinced RBR will be in any engine troubles over the season wrt penalties. Ferrari, different story as we are already seeing.

  5. As I said on the other Hamilton thread post-Montreal…

    This tells me that indeed it is within the current regs that porpoising/driver discomfort can be reduced and controlled. Merc have a car that has a very narrow window of operation in finding it’s sweet spot and when they do look how enthusiastic LH is. It’s a shame it had to come to a TD but I am more convinced now than before this race that there need not be any mid-season rule changes of any great consequence, not to mention the teams wouldn’t have it in their budgets anyway. Keep calm and persist with these new cars I say. RBR have been showing the way from the start and now even Merc has shown what can be done even just from one day to the next. Let’s see this season through without interference and then let’s give the teams time to apply what they are learning to next year’s cars and I’m sure next season will tell a different story.

  6. A lot of help from FIA… Nobody knew that from Canadian GP a new Tensor element to gain floor stiffness would be allowed but Mercedes, rest of the teams are going to assess how to incorporate this element from silverstone

    1. all teams stated they didnt know, and Merc confirmed they did? Or just another biased made up story…

      1. Technical Documentation announced Thursday night and MB showed up changes allowed in this document (look up second floor stiffener) . And guess what, lawyer who oversees legality of this technical directive was personal lawyer for Toto before he took this job. Do you need more explanation ?

        1. Her name is Shaila-Ann Rao moved to the FIA only last month, following her departure from Mercedes.

  7. Funny that suddenly there is no complaint of back pains in Canada….. all smiles and no sign of pain on one of the fastest tracks. Validating Horners view of the fake news Mercedes was peddiling for rule changes after Baku.

    1. You maybe watch the race, so you see they found a setup which caused less bouncing in Montreal. Hard to understand, how one can be surprised this then results into less pain. But yeah, distorted RBR narratives can result into weird thinking.

      1. So, no need to change the rules then. But wait, Wolf is still pushing change…. he is the only one I see distorting.

        1. If one wants soapbox racing, with last century suspension technics, then no need to change it. But the pinnacle of motorsports slogan then needs to be given to some more advanced series.

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