Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2024

Three corners cost Mercedes half a second per lap in Jeddah

Formula 1

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Mercedes believe they were losing half a second per lap through three corners at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton said the team were particularly uncompetitive through the track’s high-speed turns, describing it as being “like I was in a different category.”

Team principal Toto Wolff admitted “today was not a good day for us” after Sunday’s race where Hamilton finished ninth and George Russell brought the other car in sixth.

“It is clear that we are struggling with the car in the high-speed corners,” said Wolff. “We are competitive elsewhere but in three corners here we were losing about half-a-second. It was therefore incredibly difficult for the drivers to attack with.”

The team now has two weeks to regroup before the season continues in Australia. “There is so much learning we can take from these first two race weekends,” said Wolff. “We need to get our heads down to analyse, understand and improve. It’s clear that we’ve got a lot of work to do but these tough days make you better.”

The team’ trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, explained why they had “not performed well this weekend.”

“Our high-speed performance has been weak, and the car is bouncing in those corners,” he said. “That contributed to our poor qualifying but also meant we couldn’t challenge Aston Martin and the McLarens in the race. We were losing so much time in sector one that we spent the rest of the lap clawing it back.

“Overall, it has been a very frustrating weekend but ultimately one of our own making. We’ve seen glimpses of strong performance, but it’s not been easy to land the set-up in the right place and we’ve clearly got some weaknesses that still need ironing out.”

He acknowledged the Jeddah and Melbourne track layouts have some similarities. “We are going to have to work hard between now and Melbourne to improve,” he said. “The tracks are similar and we don’t want another weekend like this one.”

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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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8 comments on “Three corners cost Mercedes half a second per lap in Jeddah”

  1. notagrumpyfan
    10th March 2024, 13:04

    I assume that (part of) this was by choice; they were significantly faster on the straights.
    Great choice when you’re leading, but somewhat frustrating when you are attacking, especially if you constantly fall outside DRS range.

    1. On the other hand it did help to keep cars behind with that straight line speed, both Hamilton and Russel were able to defend from faster cars that way for a long time.

  2. They can lift the car but will be slower. The car was visibly slammed in Bahrain. But it was still slow and undercooled. It’s weird how they have gone to a clean sheet design and have the same fundamental aero issue.

    1. its not an aero issue, its who their building their car around issue. The same guy who doesn’t really complain like the #2 does and occasionally has a chance at the first 4 spots on the grid. IE the car almost works okay for Russell. But it sucks, just like Macca sucked after they picked up Button and decided to put their eggs in that basket. No offense to Button, but I think as far as development drivers go, Hamilton is a much better driver, for feel, and experience. I think some drivers have different philosophies, and those philosophies do not inherently account for the mechanics of the system, as much as others do. IE HAM has a much better mental representation of the/or an ideal car in his brain is better suited as a feedback mechanism for the engineers.

  3. The race was on Saturday. I really hate to pick holes in articles, but it makes it really difficult to take anything seriously if even the basics are wrong.

    1. It was Sunday where I am located ;-)

  4. If I owned a Mercedes right now I would trade it in for a case of Red Bull. :-)

    1. It may not get you from one place to the other but you’ll probably get wings, soo…. ;-)

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