Lewis Hamilton critical of three-year Mercedes problem

The Briton qualified eighth for the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after a tough weekend

-

Lewis Hamilton has struggled for pace throughout the duration of the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend and has regularly trailed George Russell across all sessions, including qualifying as he criticised Mercedes for failing to solve the porpoising problem.

The issue came to the forefront of Formula 1 discourse at the start of the 2022 season when the cars violently slammed into the ground due to the venturi tunnels underneath the car generating so much downforce that they would pull the floor into the concrete.

Upon doing so, that severed the airflow under the car and it would raise back to its natural height only to be dragged back down again instantly once the airflow was sucked back under the car. So, it appeared that the car was vibrating all the way down the straights leading to heated exchanges about how to solve it from team principals.

Most teams actually have cured the problem now, including backmarkers, but one of the few who haven’t is Mercedes and Hamilton’s now wearing thin of the confidence-sapping problem that the Silver Arrows still have yet to solve three seasons on.

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Saudi Grand Prix practice | Mercedes / LAT Images
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Saudi Grand Prix practice | Mercedes / LAT Images

“Unfortunately, the bouncing is still there,” Hamilton said to media after qualifying. “It’s very, very, very difficult to push through that first section. That’s why we like so slow in that first sector.”

When asked if he felt frustrated, he was conservative in his response and said, “It’s three years in a row [now].”

Hamilton’s still positive about the car

Hamilton noted that he actually had hope heading into the qualifying session following a more positive third practice when he ran a larger rear-wing. Despite the wing costing him “two tenths” on the straights, he said that the car felt better balanced and that he could push more through the corners without losing confidence.

Yet in qualifying, the benefits seemed to disappear and he was back to where he started. Regardless, he’s still upbeat about the potential of the car noting that it’s still improvements on its ground effect predecessors.

“I think if we took that [porpoising] away the cars really so much better than last year,” Hamilton continued. “In every in every area. It’s just that’s really causing us some real big trouble.

“In second and third sector we’re a lot closer and we’re able to be closer through some of it and all the rest of the corners, but just that first section, it’s same as last year.”

Hamilton qualified eighth for the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP too, one second off the-then polesitter, Sergio Perez whilst in 2022, he suffered a shock Q1 elimination. It was the first time he had been KO’d in Q1 at all since 2017 and the first time on pace since 2009.

In 2023 he was half a second slower than Russell but in 2024, he was only 0.150 off the pace of the younger teammate showing that he’s managed to go quicker around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit but that Mercedes have lost ground to their rivals there. Hamilton was just under a second off the pace of Max Verstappen, who took pole.

- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner and Max Verstappen talk in the Paddock ahead of 2024 Australian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Fiery Horner reignites Wolff feud over Verstappen rumours: I don’t think Toto’s problems are...

0
Christian Horner launched a stinging attack on Toto Wolff over the Mercedes team principal stoking rumours that Max Verstappen...
Toto Wolff at 2023 United States Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sebastian Kawka

Toto Wolff in ‘simple minds’ jibe at Horner over Max Verstappen

0
Toto Wolff has aimed a thinly-veiled swipe at Christian Horner by suggesting only 'simple minds' believe Max Verstappen would...
Daniel Ricciardo of Visa Cash App RB during Sprint Qualifying ahead of 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Daniel Ricciardo handed grid penalty for 2024 Miami Grand Prix

0
Daniel Ricciardo's challenging weekend at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix has been compounded by a three-grid place penalty issued...
Guanyu Zhou gets emotional on the grid after the 2024 Chinese GP | Sauber

Zhou Guanyu in tears after making F1 history

0
In an emotionally charged scene at the end of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, Sauber's Zhou Guanyu achieved...
Carlos Sainz during 2024 Chinese GP weekend | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Sainz channels inner Jose Mourinho to slam Leclerc for ‘costly’ Chinese GP incident

0
Carlos Sainz blamed Charles Leclerc for costing Ferrari two positions at the start of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix,...
Daniel Ricciardo of Visa Cash App RB during Day 1 of 2024 F1 Testing in Bahrain | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“F*ck that guy” – Seething Daniel Ricciardo slams Lance Stroll for Chinese GP crash

0
Daniel Ricciardo laid into Lance Stroll for the Canadian’s role in their 2024 Chinese Grand Prix crash that saw...
F1 2024 Chinese GP winner Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen wants more after 2024 Chinese GP victory: Issues Red Bull demand

0
Max Verstappen might have crushed the opposition at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix to extend his championship lead to...
Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sam Bloxham

Lewis Hamilton relying on Miami upgrade after damning Mercedes message

0
Lewis Hamilton is holding out hope that Mercedes will bring upgrades to their car in time for the Miami...
Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates after 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen clinches stop-start Chinese GP win as Norris holds off Perez for second

0
Max Verstappen cruised to victory in the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix as the result never looked in doubt despite...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 Chinese GP: Driver of the Day

0
McLaren star Lando Norris has been named Driver of the Day after his stellar performance at the Formula 1...
- Advertisment -