Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2022

Hamilton expects Mercedes will be “back in a fighting position next year”

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Mercedes’ progress since its difficult start to 2022 has given Lewis Hamilton confidence

The team were well off the pace in the opening races of the season as they struggled to solve the porpoising problem they encountered with their new W13. They have made clear gains since then and been quick enough to challenge for wins at some races, including last week’s Dutch Grand Prix.

But with Mercedes still yet to score their first victory of 2022, questions have been raised over whether they should persist with their radical, ‘zero sidepod’ design next year. Hamilton is confident the team will find the right answer.

“There is potential in the car,” he said. “We’ve got downforce, it’s just in some places it we’re not able to utilise it. And ride quality, of course, is an area that we can always be better.

“So I’m comfortable the direction that we’re going and have 1,000% confidence in the guys back at the factory, who are stringing together all these pieces of the puzzle, and have no doubt that we will be back in a fighting position next year.”

The team has won the last eight constructors championships in a row, but Hamilton says they are still improving how they develop their cars.

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“We’ve been very strong in the past, we’ve won world titles. But our communication continues to improve.

“We’re holding more meetings and breakout group conversation, I’m trying to just help give as much feedback as I can about what I’m feeling in the car and what are those limitations where I could gain time. These will be things that they won’t be able to see in the data, that the driver is able to bring to it.”

Gallery: 2022 Italian Grand Prix practice in pictures
His team mate George Russell says there are some aspects of the current cars performance which continue to puzzle them, such as why they tend to be more competitive in races than they are in qualifying, which is the opposite of what teams tend to encounter with under-performing cars. “After 15 races we’re still trying to comprehend [that],” he said.

“I think there’s no doubt that we’re very good at the tyre temperature management and that probably plays against us in qualifying. I think the midfield cars which potentially induce more temperature into the tyres naturally can afford to go slower on the out-lap, damage the tyre less and then they have even more performance for a single lap.

“Whereas you see with us consistently our out-laps have to be so fast in qualifying to get temperature, then we’re damaging the surface of the tyre and that’s probably why we’re on the back foot in qualifying. But it’s just a theory.”

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2022 Italian 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...
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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9 comments on “Hamilton expects Mercedes will be “back in a fighting position next year””

  1. I hope he is right. The more cars and driver’s up there, the more chance of a close title fight for us viewers.
    There doesn’t seem to be any unreachable PU advantages which ruined the last era, so I believe the performance will level out a lot sooner with this set of rules.
    The teams will get there with chassis and aero eventually, just at varying rates of progress.

  2. They better be, given the possibility of Ferrari bottling up also next season.

    1. Indeed @jerejj even if this turns into a winning streak for Verstappen, we definitely want him to fight for it, that way we can actually see how good he is (or lose out to a Merc, but then having shown he’s a great fighter too); Ferrari are too reliably unreliable competitors on track.

  3. Yes, hopefully GR may be a serious WDC contender in the 2023 Merc

  4. I hope not. Let’s move that to 2024. Some of us can really use a break with regard to their decade of borefest winning. I’d rather see McLaren or Williams take it to RedBull and Ferrari. Absolutely no need for Mercedes to be in the mix

    1. Or McLaren, Williams and Ferrari at the front with neither Red Bull nor Mercedes? No need for either! Obviously you’d like that unpredictably even more…

  5. Said the same last year
    “My team is the best”
    ” my team never makes mistakes”

  6. Summing up: Mercedes, still baffled.

  7. Just to quote George “…there are some aspects of the current cars performance which continue to puzzle them, such as why they tend to be more competitive in races than they are in qualifying, which is the opposite of what teams tend to encounter with under-performing cars. “After 15 races we’re still trying to comprehend [that],” he said.”
    I discussed this issue with one TD back in 2014. He was not only a clever but also a humble guy, a person of true integrity in all aspects considered. Of course, he didn’t say you fixed our car for the next season but analysis presented helped the team to rectify things for the next season. What they eventually did. To cut the long story, the matter goes down to the very core of car’s fundamentals. Although the aero is true performance differentiator it needs sound chassis design to unleash its potential. Hence, we come to car’s kinematics considering axis of roll AoR ( AoR is the axis running trough the front and rear axle center of roll CoR ) distance to CoG on empty and full load of fuel. It’s very hard to judge as an outsider the angle of AoR because rear suspension geometry is always hidden by surrounding car’s components. However, the front axle reveals sufficient info about AoR to CoG distance. When you look at Ferrari, RB, and Mercedes you can draw obvious conclusions. Front axle CoR on Ferrari is almost on the ground level, RB is little bit higher and Mercedes is somewhere in the clouds compared to them. It means that Ferrari will bring the highest level of energy into the tires as the result of greatest CoG to AoR distance. It’s a helping characteristic in Q3 on low fuel but it destroys the rubber on high fuel load. It also helps on low downforce tracks like Monza. Mercedes is on other end of the envelope. Much smaller CoG to AoR distance on empty tank makes the energy flow into the tires so small it cannot light up the tires in closing stages of Q3. On low downforce track like Monza problem is amplified, there is no sufficient downforce to mask chassis design deficiencies. However, on high load of fuel CoG is elevated and distance between AoR and CoG increases. This is crucial feature of suspension design because the energy brought into the tires is generated by lateral forces acting on CoG which rolls the car as a result of lever, in this case represented by AoR – CoG distance. Everyone who studied mechanical engineering with focus on car’s suspension should know this, the simplest laws of physics applied.
    I’ll use this opportunity to congratulate Adrian Newey on winning the constructor’s championship this year and also to congratulate Max on the first fairly won driver’s title.

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