Lewis Hamilton has downplayed the team’s chances ahead of their season opener in Bahrain, insisting the team has issues to deal with early in the season
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The Briton has claimed the Silver Arrows are expecting a slow start to the season as they have “a lot of problems” to deal with. He went on to suggest that he and George Russell may not be able to challenge to win “at least the first four races”.
Mercedes is behind both Red Bull and Ferrari about lap times during testing, though those numbers aren’t a reliable indicator of performance as the teams tested different setups over three days. Having won eight consecutive championships for builders, they are expected to be in high demand once again in 2022.
However, the team has made significant changes to its car between revealing it and taking part in a test in Barcelona, before the official pre-season test in Barcelona. Bahrain. Both drivers spoke negatively about the car, citing concerns about its aerodynamics.
“The testing was tough,” said Hamilton during a visit to Expo 2020 Dubai. “It’s crazy because, years ago, we used to have a lot of test days and now we only have, literally, three days in the car? So it’s not a lot of laps. .
“As we go into this race, this week, we are still learning about the car – we will probably be in at least the first four races. We have had a lot of problems. As you said, See, everyone’s boom and bust.”
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The “backlash” he is referring to is the phenomenon of ‘porpoising’ that every team has suffered to some degree in recent weeks. This effect is due to aerodynamic changes brought about as part of a new set of technical rules intended to facilitate closer races.
What happened during testing was that the drivers were up and down at high speeds, especially on a straight line. Mercedes was one of the teams most affected, and Russell revealed that the current car isn’t the “funniest” to get behind the wheel.
“It’s interesting, because I’m worried that, you know, I’m 37, so I’m racing against George, he’s 24, isn’t he? Hamilton on the matter.” But he has a problem and he is feeling it on his back. So it’s not just a matter of times! “
Hamilton’s cautious words about the start of the season echo those from the Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. The Austrian used his pre-weekend note to warn fans that the group is unsure of its exact position relative to its competitorsand therefore it is not possible to make predictions as to how competitive the racers will be in Bahrain this weekend.
“It’s hard to say exactly where we’ll fit in this weekend’s Bahrain sequence, but that’s what makes this new season and new era so exciting,” he wrote. “It’s a clean medium for everyone and everyone can play.
“Like we always say, what we love about F1 is that the chronograph never lies – and we’ll get our first taste of competitive truth on Saturday in qualifying. I’m so excited. Excited to see what’s in store this weekend.”