Lewis Hamilton super happy with Mercedes | Sunday Observer

Lewis Hamilton super happy with Mercedes

22 May, 2022
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton hailed what he believes is a breakthrough with his Mercedes after a promising showing in Spanish Grand Prix practice.

Hamilton was third fastest, behind pace-setter Charles Leclerc's Ferrari and Mercedes team-mate George Russell. Hamilton said: "It is positive. I am super happy with the progress. We're not the quickest yet but I think we're on our way."

Russell said he believed Mercedes could retain their form into the weekend. "I see no reason why we can't be as far away from the front [in qualifying] as we showed [today]," he said.

However, he cautioned that Mercedes had also looked good in Friday practice in Miami two weeks ago, only to fall away in qualifying and race, and that Ferrari and Red Bull were running their engines in a less aggressive way than Mercedes on Friday. Mercedes, like many teams, have taken a car upgrade to the Spanish Grand Prix. It is aimed at solving the "porpoising" or "bouncing" problem on the straights that has afflicted them all year.

This is an aerodynamic phenomenon that forces Mercedes to run the car higher than they would like and which they believe is restricting their ability to use all its potential.

Hamilton said: "It is the first time we have driven down the straight without bouncing. We still have some bouncing but it is way better and we are starting to eke into the potential of the car. "It is still tough but it is much nicer than it has been before.

"I am grateful for the upgrades. We just need to fine-tune them. I think we can get it into a better place tomorrow to tackle the heels of the guys up ahead."

Russell ended the day just 0.117secs off Leclerc's pace, and Hamilton only 0.087secs further adrift.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was only fifth fastest, behind the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The world champion was 0.336secs slower than Leclerc and less than 0.2secs quicker than Alpine's Fernando Alonso.

The cars of the two title contenders showed diametrically opposed performance patterns - Leclerc quick over one lap but 0.6secs slower on average than Verstappen on a race simulation run; Verstappen slow on one lap, but the fastest of all on a long run.

"It's a bit tricky to find the right balance," Verstappen said. "We clearly have a bit of work to do over one lap but the long runs look quite decent. I am happy with that but we need to try and find a middle way." (BBC Sport)