Mercedes’ Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton explains why he started to lose pace during the opening stint of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After making a great start from fifth on the grid, Hamilton found himself between the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz on the first lap of the race in Abu Dhabi.
However, just as Hamilton started to lineup up a move on Leclerc, Sainz decided to lunge down the inside of Hamilton forcing the British driver wide at Turn 6 in a move reminiscent of the one that took place exactly a year ago between Hamilton and Verstappen.
However, this time Hamilton ran over the sausage kerb on the exit launching his Mercedes W13 into the air before continuing with his race.
While Hamilton would ultimately retire from the race from an unrelated hydraulics issue, the damage sustained in the incident hampered the performance of his car.
“Basically we’ve got a bit right under the seat, the front of the floor and I think that took a big hit, so I think that would have fallen back a little bit,” Hamilton told Sky Sports after the race.
“When that happens you just lose a little bit of performance. The balance basically shifted forwards, which means it’s almost like you have loads of front wing. I had to wait until the (pit) stop to take out a bunch of wing and then the car was better after that.”
Hamilton highlights struggles with W13
The seven-time world champion had his worst season in F1, with the British driver failing to win a race over the course of the season for the first time in his career.
Hamilton to that end was largely critical of the W13 stating that it was a car he simply did not enjoy driving.
“Ultimately, I think we started with a car that we didn’t want and we finished with a car that we didn’t want,” Hamilton continued.
“We were basically stuck with it and we kept working way at improving it but I think the fundamentals (issues) have been there all the way to the end and you saw that this weekend.
“I think it’s been more of a team-building exercise this year.”