Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2022

Hamilton says Mercedes are “further back than we were in the last race”

2022 French Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes aren’t as competitive at Paul Ricard this weekend as they were two weeks ago in Austria.

However, he believes the team still has the chance to continue its run of podium finishes this weekend.

“Today we’re in fourth and fifth so that’s kind of the region that we’ll be fighting for,” said Hamilton after today’s practice sessions.

“I don’t mean that we can’t be on the podium, I think we can still be up there. We’re just still not as quick as those front guys – we’re a little bit further back than we were in the last race.”

Despite not driving his car in the opening session, when Nyck de Vries took over, Hamilton said he “did make some changes” to his set-up between sessions. “It was kind of crazy because I hadn’t even driven the car from where Nyck was.”

De Vries “did a great job this morning, kept the car in one piece and was great out there”, said Hamilton. “So I’m grateful for the work he did this morning.”

Mercedes arrived at Paul Ricard expecting its combination of quick corners, a smooth surface and high temperatures would play into their hands. But Hamilton said the team “have a lot of work to do, a lot of ground to cover still” after being out-paced by Ferrari and Red Bull again on Friday.

“The car’s not spectacular here, we don’t know why, but hopefully overnight we can make a bit of a step” he said.

The team is lacking pace “everywhere” around the track, said Hamilton. “It’s just every corner. I’m going to have to dig deep into the data, but it just feels like we’re lacking downforce today. But otherwise it’s okay, I can only have empathy for the guys even further back.”

“I think generally this generation of car is definitely nowhere near as good as it used to be in terms of grip and stuff that we had in the past,” he added. “But it also is the first year of this generation so I’m sure it’ll get better over the years.

“But we have work to do, we’re a little bit further behind than we anticipated this weekend.”

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2022 French 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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29 comments on “Hamilton says Mercedes are “further back than we were in the last race””

  1. A lap in Austria is a lot shorter and can be deceiving if you are going by how many tenths behind you are.

    1. Yep, that’s why I wasn’t buying into the story that Mercedes was getting closer.

  2. But, but … upgrades!

    Anyway, someone in PR messed up.

    1. Anyway, someone in PR messed up

      Agreed. Mercedes should fire Christian Horner, then.

        1. Brother, às eu nao aguento esses babacas daqui! PQP!

          1. “…às vezes…”

  3. petebaldwin (@)
    22nd July 2022, 18:40

    No they’re not.

    1. In race pace, Russell is faster than Leclerc and Sainz by a tenth (38.5 vs 38.6) and with better deg. So yeah, still practice and all but definitely not “further back”.

      1. Fred Fedurch
        22nd July 2022, 22:17

        It’s the race sandbags that make the difference.

  4. Said LH as they proceed to find a bit more for tomorrow and a bit more again for Sunday (not that I think, nor ever did, that they would be fighting for a win this weekend other than through attrition of others).

    1. I’m curious how you think they will ‘find a bit more’ for Sunday, as they are in parc ferme from the start of qualifying.

    2. Sounds like the usual “public pessimism” I hear from LH early in the weekend, early in the race. Really doubt they are as bad off as he’s trying to make it sound.

  5. Hamilton seems to be channeling Mistress Overdone.” What with the war and the sweat I am custom shrunk”

    A few positive words might help himself to get over the fact Russell beat him again in the second practice.

    1. Russell had the first practice to, y’know, practice; Hamilton didn’t. And the grid is decided tomorrow.

    2. A much more positive article than the headline suggests. Which makes me wonder if some people just read the headlines

      1. And also makes you wonder why those headlines have such a tendency to leave the context behind in a hurry.

    3. First of all, points are awarded in the race. Second, you don’t know anything about their programmes during FP. You don’t know what they’re trying, how much they’re pushing, how much fuel they are carrying, what parts they have in their cars, how they’re set up, etc.

    4. Stop Embarrassing yourself Witan

    5. lol. HAM in front of his teammate in every session he participated but P3, most important in Q3, but you pick up an unimportant P3 result. Wow.

  6. Lets see what the ban of flex-floors will bring. Dont see them catching up til then.

    Sidenote: Funny that some here obviously dont understand practice sessions.

    1. I have a feeling the floors need to flex to at least some degree. Similar to rear and front wings. I’ll be surprised if a new test for floor flexing suddenly makes Mercedes able to catch up. The alleged advantage to a slightly more flexy floor might be fairly insignificant for all we know. For all we know Mercedes might be ‘safer’ making their floor flex to the degree allowed by Belgium, if it doesn’t already. All a bit of a mystery for now.

      1. agree. Merc also needs to adapt to the allowed flex range. Til now its obviously not strictly regulated, and competitors made use of that, while Merc were unaware.

        Afaik regulations were clarified and will get enforced from Spa on, so Merc hopefully can close that gap. And only some races later we will see how much of a difference this made.

  7. The upgrade coming from the same folks that design the current 2022 car, why am I not surprised? Lol

  8. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    23rd July 2022, 4:34

    No worries Lewis, sure Toto will find a political solution that will allow Mercedes to benefit or punish rival teams for doing a better job.

    Also you do not want a good car, you will have nothing to complaint about anymore and your fans and British media will sing less praises for you finishing 5th in the 3rd fastest car or get podium when 2 faster cars have DNF.

    Apparently having 2 teams dominating F1 is not good for the sport, in Toto’s view only 1 team should dominate F1 and that can’t be any other team than his.

    1. i guess every driver wants his team to have the quickest car, and every team principal is argueing in favour of his team (some going as far as calling officials rogue for doing their job). But dont let reality stop you from spreading your orange hate.

  9. So, they are quicker again..

  10. Their long runs tells a different story, it just Friday, lets see on Sunday, considering Sainz is already out of the equation and Perez not up to the mark bodes well for another Merc podium atleast.

  11. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
    23rd July 2022, 11:54

    I’ll believe Mercedes is off the pace when
    I see it.
    I havent believed a word they say before the race for years.

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