Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2022

“Bouncing is back” admits Hamilton after Mercedes’ qualifying struggle

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes’ bouncing problem has returned after he could only manage fifth on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team scored its first victory of the season in Brazil last week having consistently improved the performance of its W13 since the season began. Mercedes started 2022 suffering problems caused by its car bouncing at high speed.

Hamilton qualified fifth, almost seven-tenths of a second off pole-winner Max Verstappen. George Russell will share the third row of the grid with his team mate having qualifying was just three-thousandths of a second slower.

“Bouncing is back, so that’s not that easy,” he told media including RaceFans after today’s session.

Although Mercedes predicted Red Bull would be stronger at Yas Marina, Hamilton admitted he “definitely wasn’t expecting to see such a big gap” in qualifying. “We’re losing six-tenths on the straight. It was reminiscent of some of the previous races before, kind of, Austin.”

Hamilton also complained about more problems with his brakes during qualifying. He said Mercedes have several key weaknesses on their car which they need to solve before next season.

“[There’s] brakes, bouncing is probably number one,” said Hamilton. “Drag is probably our biggest weakness, or equal number one. There’s loads of other things.

“We’ve obviously got some downforce, we just need to build a much more efficient car. I think everybody in the team knows exactly what are the problems and where we’ve gone wrong. I’m very confident they’re not going to build the next car with any of those characteristics.”

He said he will be pleased not to have to drive the W13 again after next week’s end-of-season test at the circuit.

“I’m looking forward to the end of Tuesday which is the last time I have to drive this thing,” he said. “I don’t ever plan to drive this one again. It won’t be one of the cars I request in my contract!”

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2022 Abu Dhabi 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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34 comments on ““Bouncing is back” admits Hamilton after Mercedes’ qualifying struggle”

  1. Clearly, the FIA needs to step in and prevent this irresponsible team from setting up their car in a way to harm their drivers.

    1. They still have to stay within the limits of their/the (whichever you prefer) midseason, rule changing, technical directive, so evidently the bouncing and wear is quite limited. Also good to remember they’re still comfortably 5th and 6th.

    2. So now you think that the technical directive about this is a good idea? I could be wrong, but I thought you were one of those who claimed that it was all just a cunning ploy by Merc aimed at RB, and nothing to do with driver harm. OK, I think see the pattern.
      And it’s funny that we don’t hear much about ‘sandbagging’ lately, either.

  2. One week after having perhaps the best package on Brazil, they almost .8s off the pace and behind Ferrari again.

    The story of their season. Beginning in Spain there were at least 4 races that pumped their spirit just for the next one to bring them back to zero lol

    1. I thought they (MB) would be in for pole after their stunning performance the last three races. Maybe they have a better race setup and probably still a tyre performance advantage.

      1. Yes, one of them could be on the podium.

  3. He can drive a lot better than you or your idol.

    How old are you again?

    1. Who is her idol?
      Can you please disclose it to me, because I’m in the dark.
      To belittle someone who “dares” to make an innocent joke at the cost of your idol, is petulant and childishly sulky.
      By the way if her idol is Max and you claim to live in the here and now, it is hard to take you seriously by claiming Lewis is a better driver this year.

      1. How long have you been visiting this site?

  4. exactly the sort of mindless airheaded statement we expect from you – well done

  5. First time in Sir Lewis Hamilton’s career that he couldn’t get pole position during a season! 15 seasons and the streak has ended, but the only thing that can be blamed for it is Sir Hamilton and his mistakes:
    -Austria – crashed
    -Hungary – DRS problem, but Hamilton abandoned his lap, which lost him positions in Q and probably also handed victory to Max
    -Netherlands – underperformed during first run
    -Singapore – massively underperformed on the final run
    -Mexico – once again choked
    -Brazil – finished the slowest of all drivers who completed fast laps, behind Alpine, McLaren and Haas hahahahaha

    6 chances to get it and he wasted them all! Truly The GOAT!

    1. Lol what is your point? A guy in his late 30s, in the twilight of a great career, 7 championships (really should be 8), numerous poles and wins, is still competing at the highest level.

      Quite amazing if you ask me, only few greats have gone on as long, I’m thing Jordan, Brady, Lebron, Messi, Serena.

      Lewis has a truly exceptional record, 15 seasons of poles and wins!!! Wow thanks for remind us all.

      1. It was maybe a long shot to get pole this year in a merc, though russell got it in hungary and hamilton was generally faster, so probably should’ve got one, I didn’t realise he had lost this record, but he’s always been a strong qualifier, so not surprising on 2nd thought. If you say he deserves 8 championships, I can say schumacher deserves more as well, since there’s been several near misses, and in order to get pole every single season and win you NEED a competitive car, which hamilton never lacked, this was overall one of the worst cars hamilton drove.

      2. I can’t think of any other current driver who can claim a winning streak every season they’ve been in F1, or a pole position, or a podium, so I guess that’s three records that are going to last until at least 2037. Incidentally, he also had wins, podiums, and poles in the five seasons prior to stepping up to F1.

        1. Hamilton is unique in that regard, though starting out at McLaren obviously helped that a lot. Regardless, it’s still a great streak.

          Verstappen, Schumacher and Senna all won every year aside from their debut season at midfield/backmarker teams. Verstappen is now on 7 seasons, Senna managed 9 between 1985 and 1993 (he no doubt would have won in 1994), and Schumacher had the same number as Hamilton at 15 between 1992 and 2006.

  6. The track is smooth and not bumpy therefore ride height is much lower, that said I wouldn’t say that is merc’s biggest problem, the 2 big straights are the issue.

    1. @peartree Lucky you! When did you drive the car? I didn’t see your laps on the TV today. Interesting report, in contrast to the team, the usual drivers, and what I saw for myself on the TV. Of course I wasn’t privileged enough, nor am I skilled enough, to take it for a drive myself.

      1. @biker56 You are right lucky me that I know how to read!

    2. Well they bounce on the straights and lose downforce and thus speed.

  7. “I’m looking forward to the end of Tuesday which is the last time I have to drive this thing,”
    This thing… first time in his life driving the 3rd best car huh? How would other drivers behind the grid thought?

    1. He’s driven the third best or worst car on several occasions but seeing as your interest in F1 likely started in 2016 its easy to see why you didn’t know that.

      1. wasn’t around in 2009 for sure.
        It’s a car way below their expectations. So what if is better than 3/4 of the grid if it still below their expectations?

        They’re finishing the season still at odds with it. No team aiming to come back to the to would have reasons to feel satisfied about this car or how its development went.

  8. They’re starting next seasons car updates behind the others.” It is going to take a small miracle…; have fun storming the castle”

  9. FIA should look into his claims. I mean Mercedes were so worried about the drivers health they lobbied for change for safety reasons.

    Obviously Toto won’t expect either driver to race if their health is at risk….

    1. Don’t worry Jack, there’s a technical directive now, and sensors on the car. So if the bouncing is bad enough to break the limit, the car will have to retire. Happy to set your mind at rest.

  10. Sorry to hear that. Are you:
    a) too young
    b) too uncoordinated
    c) can’t pass the exam
    d) can’t open a door, or understand what a key is
    e) banned by a court?

  11. So it turns out that that annoying reporter at the start of testing had a valid point, the car they built was not good. Lewis’s confidence in the team producing another winning car was misplaced. And now we know what Lewis and the team actually did, which was to work hard as a team to fix it, until by the end of the season, the team had a pole position, and not only many podiums, but a 1 2 maximum points finish.

  12. Yeah it is strange Russell isn’t complaining, at least as much.
    Last week Lewis was praising the car!
    I think Lewis is extremely stressed dealing with a car that is less competitive, a teammate who has proven to be on his level, and a bevy of young challengers nipping at his heels.
    He is a great driver, but has always been rattled and mistake prone when under pressure. And he is getting plenty of it this year.
    I wouldn’t bet against him, but at this point,I wouldn’t bet on him either.

    1. Russell also complained. The media want articles about Lewis.

      Rosberg ran away and Bottas is a broken man. Russell is only starting out on the challenge.

      1. Bottas a broken man? He will thank God on his bare knees that he was able to drive the rocketship for several seasons and claim so many poles and podiums. If not he would have been all the time where he is right now, lower midfield without any podiums.
        And of course, Lewis was the Golden Boy that could not be touched. Not that he was so much better than Bottas, but just because he came in early and he is a more dominant person.
        But Bottas a broken man? No way…

  13. Lewis and his mantra: Praise myself when I am winning, blame the car when I am not. This “thing” he does not want to drive anymore is a pole setter at Hungary (thanks, George), a GP winner (thanks George again) and possibly the 3rd best car of the season. If he was driving for Ferrari and complaining about the car like this, he would be sacked before finish saying “bella pasta”.

    1. And that’s why Ferrari are in the wilderness.

  14. If i had to guess i’d say Mercedes is using this last race of the season for more data gathering centered on next year’s car.

    1. Back at sea level – it’s a dog.

      A husky, as it works best over distance.

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