Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

I’ve never a driven a car this bad here says Hamilton after practice “disaster”

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said an experimental set-up and drastic floor change on his Mercedes did not improve the performance of the team’s troubled car in practice for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Hamilton said that today’s running was “pretty much like every Friday for us”, running different parts on his car and his team mate George Russell’s. “We’re trying lots of different things, experimental floor on my side, which didn’t work. Nothing we do with this car generally seems to work.

“So we’re trying different set-ups, me and George went with much different set-ups in this P2 just to see if one way works and one way doesn’t,” Hamilton explained. He said he would wait to hear what Russell thought of his car’s performance but described his own session “a disaster.”

“It’s like the car is getting worse, like it’s getting more and more unhappy the more we do to it,” Hamilton said. “So we keep working on it and it is what it is.”

However he is resigned to not being able to make significant improvements with the W13. “I think this is the car for the year, so we just have to tough it out and work hard on building a better car for next year.”

Hamilton said that the stiffness of the car makes it particularly limiting to drive in Montreal. “One touch to the kerb and the thing goes flying, it’s so stiff. And here you need to be able to use the kerbs. So it’s very, very tricky.

“It’s not the Montreal that I know, that I’m used to and that I’ve experienced in my career. It’s the worst that I’ve ever felt any car here.” Hamilton first raced at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007. “I’m hoping overnight we can try and make some changes. But fundamentally, it’s just the fundamentals of the car. It is what it is and it’s going to be a struggle.”

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Hamilton said he had “a monumental fight the whole time to keep it out of the wall” during practice. “When it bounces, when the car leaves the ground a lot, then when it lands, it grips up and it goes in different directions. And so you’re just trying to catch a car that hops, grips, hops, grips. It’s tough.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Canadian Grand Prix practice in pictures
The bouncing caused “some big hits today,” Hamilton added. A ride height adjustment did not help the problem, he added. “We’ve raised the car and it doesn’t make a difference.”

The only positive to take away, Hamilton concluded, was that some set-up options had been eliminated. “Well, we’ve tried loads and loads of things, so we’ve ticked them all off. Those ones don’t work, so we have to go find something else. And we’re way off, but it’s to be expected with this car.”

George Russell said the difference between his car and Hamilton’s was more extreme than it had been at previous races. “In FP2 that was probably the biggest deviation in set-up Lewis and I have had all season,” he said. “We went in two drastically different directions.

“We’ll probably be able to find a happy medium between between the two. So we’re going to be working hard.

“We just need to make sure we qualify ahead of the midfield. I think we’ve got a race car that will put us in that best team position spot. But obviously if we qualify a little bit out of position it may be tricky.”

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2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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67 comments on “I’ve never a driven a car this bad here says Hamilton after practice “disaster””

  1. I mean, that could easily be fixed. I’ve seen Nyck de Vries just standing there in the Mercedes garage.

    1. Coventry Climax
      18th June 2022, 0:51

      Yep, nobody tells you to stay at a team that makes mistakes, Lewis.

    2. And that would make the bouncing stop?

      1. Nyck could fix the Lewis “driv[ing] a car this bad here.”

    3. Sergey Martyn
      18th June 2022, 11:06

      Lately, Lewis’ loud moans drown out the roar of engines and the screeching of tyres!

      1. Well if he left it to the pundits, they would only ever offer the worst guesses.

        aka Psychology, loss of confidence, no ability, still sulking over last year’s kerfuffle / Car-fuffle etc etc

        Now when he says it loud and proud, ‘the latest round of experiments aren’t working’, we get he’s ‘moaning’.

  2. My goodness…not a fan of LH but boy oh boy this is tough for him and them. So hard to fathom. Must be so so frustrating for everything they try, to not work. Hey maybe ultimately they’ll still hang around 3’rd ish in the WCC, but wow…physical pain on top of mental pain. Unbelievable. There can’t be much more that they can try other than new components.

    1. It certainly seems that they’ve gotten things very very wrong indeed.

      What is also pretty apparent is that “raising the ride height” is not the nice simple solution that the armchair experts have been saying.

      I wonder at what point they’ll have to “just make do”, if they haven’t reached that point already – making new parts doesn’t seem to be achieving much & it seems there may be a need for a complete B spec chassis, something I imagine can’t be done under this year’s budget cap.

    2. @robbie – I think the issue is that they need a fairly major redesign of the floor – not just a few aero strakes but the whole concept. The changes they need to make would be expensive and they’d probably rather spend the money focussing on getting the 2023 car right instead.

      I’m not convinced they expect any of their “experiments” to make the 2022 car go quicker or bounce less. They are doing them to gather data so they can make sure next years car works.

    3. But isn’t this what teams down the grid have to go through year after year. Especially the guys at Haas and Williams deserve some respect.

      1. Exactly.

        Fernando Alonso is arguably at least as good a driver as Lewis but has had to drive cars that are not competitive for a large part of his career. He persists because he still feels he might one day win another title.

        I don’t think Lewis will have that patience. 2022 is going to be a ‘best of the rest season’ for Mercedes, unless the FIA introduce changes to the new rules that will allow them to fix their issues. If they’re also off the pace at the beginning of 2023, he’ll be off.

        1. Absolutely, agree he’s as good as hamilton, and in certain years did comparatively better with worse cars, such as the vettel era.

          1. Oh please?

            Rookie year?

            2007 standing for all those saying same points!

            Jeez the revision

      2. jff Oh for sure, happens all the time with the majority of drivers who don’t have the car with which to win. It’s just somewhat shocking I guess given the run Mercedes and LH have come off. How often have we seen a top team have practically everything they try make things worse?

        1. I guess they spent more last year to stay in the races than Toto wanted to make us believe.

  3. The reference for Lewis and his car is George Russell. So far this year, George is way faster than Lewis, in both quali and race pace so the setup excuse has been exhausted. The life cycle of Lewis domination in the sport is over and he should elegantly accept the sunset of his career.

    1. Is he really faster in race pace? Perhaps in imola but it was hard to tell in the traffic. Monaco also impossible to tell. You could argue Hamilton had superior race pace at Barcelona.

    2. What?! He should have won the Championship last year, save for Masi’s reinterpretation of the rules.

      We’re now only halfway through the next season, under brand new rules and Mercedes have a dog of a car currently.

      Lewis might quit F1 if Mercedes can’t improve over the next year or so, or if he finds driving their car too uncomfortable. That’s very, very different from him being in the ‘sunset of his career’.

      1. @sonnycrockett Was it the only reinterpretation of the rules?

        Mexico 2016
        Canada 2019
        Bahrain 2021
        Abu Dhabi 2021 (first lap)

        As a matter of fact, he has been helped more than not by “reinterpretation” of the rules more often than not robbing a few victories himself in the process. It’s not black and white.

      2. He lost the WDC in the car that won the WCC. Max outperformed it by a significant margin and the championship only came down to that last lap because the FIA gifted Lewis victories in Bahrain and Britain, and he was in the lead at abu dhabi because they let him cut the back chicane lap one after Max overtook him. I think we can all be happy to have a deserving world champion for the first time in the turbo hybrid era

        1. You must have watched a seriously different year?

          Truth is they arrived at AD equal and however you wish it MV had no right to that race or that championship and no matter how you write it – that is a fact.

          Not a problem though because it would appear we are in for a period of aero wins by Newey and MV can stroll at last to a championship happily and at least have an ounce of credibility while all you chaps and lasses try to explain how this new formula is actually just this amazing driver called MV

          With a team mate that has neither the ability or orders to race him…

          Have fun.

          1. Only equal because max had far worse luck and lewis had a faster car. He couldn’t defend for one lap 🤣🤣🤣. What you say about perez also applies to bottas.

            I’m just glad that in the one season where they fought for the title the better driver and cast a (well justified) shadow of doubt over the statistics hamilton racked up in the mercedes rocketship. Mercedes doesn’t get nearly enough credit for propelling someone who was outscored by Jenson Button over three years to six easy championships

    3. Whilst Hamilton is being used as the Benchmark for Mercedes experiments – aka consistent feedback.

      Russells get three practices to set his car up, whilst Hamilton gets one, if he’s lucky. His other practices go to testing testing testing.

      1. He can always just copy the setup of Russell.
        Should not be an issue for such a magnificent driver to perform equally to Russell with it.
        Several years ago he was complaining Rosberg copied his setup, so…

        And again, never heard a Mercedes person saying Lewis is the only one testing or that he is the benchmark. That Russell doesn’t test is your interpretation.

        1. Surely they would have agreed to share setup data from George’s side if Lewis has been nominated to test components for the car? It would be madness not to, so I don’t really understand how this could be hampering Lewis too much.

  4. This is what happens when you name a car with a number 13.

    Not many other teams have

    1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      18th June 2022, 6:21

      The McLaren MP4/13 did pretty well, though.

      1. Williams FW13/Sauber C13 weren’t bad eather.

    2. RB13 was a different case

    3. Ha Ha LOL

      13 unlucky, fate, predestined?

      …but then if as a matter of course you give the championship winners less time and resources to develop the [ new spec ] car, it should be no surprise at all. This was the whole point after all.

  5. Coventry Climax
    18th June 2022, 0:35

    I clearly remember something about the team not making mistakes, so there must be a big masterplan behind all this, right? ;-)

  6. GP2 chassis.

  7. Looking on the bright side, FIA may ban the car from competing in the GP.

  8. Alonso was right. ‘Everyone can win if the car is good enough. Let’s see how they are when the car isn’t’. Alonso is the only one of his generation who lives up to this no matter what car he gets

    1. Anthony Stevens
      18th June 2022, 3:50

      Very true, Lewis never ever had a bad car while in F1.

      Even this year he has a good car, yes compared to the second per lap car he got used to for last 7 years maybe not so much but the Mercedes car is still 3rd fastest meaning that there are 14 drivers happy to trade with Lewis. Unlike everyone else Lewis always had podium cars his entire career.

      With Russell enjoying a huge step up in performance and using it to kick Lewis ass this season it is very clear that it was Mercedes making Lewis look good rather than Lewis making Mercedes look good the last 7 years. Only twice did Lewis had real competition and both times he lost.

      As per usual Lewis has trouble accepting his own responsibility and is happy to throw his team under the bus.

      I remember Lewis and Toto saying pre summer 2021 that Red Bull were compromising their 2022 season trying to win the 2021 championship and that Mercedes was almost fully focussed on 2022 with little upgrades left to come.

      Obviously they were lying yet again but now looking back it seems quite the opposite happened with Mercedes investing heavily into 2021 car and with that sacrificing 2022 car. Red Bull either has been extremely efficient and managed to work on both cars or as shown at end of 2021 Red Bull stopped working on 2021 and solely focussed on 2022 with Mercedes having the performance advantage in the last 4-5 races.

      1. Are you forgetting the dog of a car Hamilton came to when he joined Mercedes?
        Let us not forget his contributions in that first year to the car’s improvements.

        DNF’s brakes over heating etc etc.
        Mercedes adapted the car to Hamilton’s racing style which also benefited Rosberg.

        1. But that car was pretty much like this year performance wise, wasn’t it? Maybe slightly worse.

        2. So the whole team couldn’t figure out that car, but when Lewis joined his inputs suddenly made it the championship winning rockets?
          The years that Schumacher was there they couldn’t figure it out, but Lewis made it happen?
          Do you really believe yourself everything you type?

      2. I suggest you look at 2009 – and where his future WC team mate finished that year.

        You are clearly a 2016 on fan.

        This is where you tell me you have been watching F1 since they built the arc by the way..

  9. Watched fp1 and 2 today live and that car was a handful around turn 6/7. Any braking bump and Lewis was having a rough time. That and the Hass were the worst cars for movement on turn in.

    Lewis’ car looked good under throttle after the apex. But i suppose everyone else does too.

    1. Wonderful comment, thanks

  10. Queue the beginning of the “we’ve tried everything and can’t fix it, the rules need to change” narrative.

    If they really don’t have the knowledge or expertise to fix it in that team, with the amount of money they spend, that’s very, very embarassing.

    Has anyone spoken to Brawn about this lately? He seemed certain the problem had been solved in the past and was surprised the teams were struggling with it.

  11. I see Mercedes slowly going towards Williams 2018, they’ve got no idea how to improve the car. Perhaps 2 years down the road Mercedes see no advantage of staying in f1, will quit the championship. Who will be taking over the ownership of the team? Toto?

    1. That is exactly the narrative they are trying to create here, leading to a regulation change with regard to the suspension. They will then be back on top in no time.

  12. I can’t but wonder if all those engineers that were recruited to other teams left a hole bigger that they care to admit to. They do seem completely clueless to the point that it seems more than just the budget cap.

  13. and work hard on building a better car for next year.

    They still have the wider side pod car which they tested in Barcelona. If they are that desperate and clueless then maybe they should go back to that design.

    1. But this is winning Championships left and right in their wind tunnel and CFD!

      Clearly, something is wrong with reality, and Mercedes are doing everything they can to fix that!

  14. I think the ritual self-flagellation is a bit much to be honest. Mercedes still have clearly the third best car. And in Spain they were closer to the race pace of the leading two. Given that, after this round, we won’t see another street track until October, it’s entirely possible that Mercedes will rediscover their form from the next race onwards.

  15. Maybe he is taking this a bit too far now. The agenda is obvious.

    1. He’s certainly got a neat get out story if he feels he can’t beat Russell.

  16. Mr. Defeatist.

  17. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    18th June 2022, 9:28

    I’m surprised he doesn’t blame Red Bull Racing for this somehow. His pocketbuddy Russell seems to….

  18. Chris Horton
    18th June 2022, 9:43

    Really does sound horrendous to drive.

  19. Love these psychological games. FIA: if necessary we force you to lift the car 1 cm. Mercedes: we did that, it didn’t work. So what now? FIA: disqualification. Backfire.

  20. Fernando knows this very well how it feels to have the talent yet not the car to fulfill his dreams. Yet he keeps coming back like a warrior. Both Lewis and Fernando work equally hard but one had to battle GP2 engine and the other had a privilege driving for one the the best teams in Formula 1, fate could have been easily reversed. Gratitude is important here, gives you perspective. Lewis bad car is still the 3rd fastest, yet in his perspective it is bad because it is true, but someone like Fernando would give everything up to drive that car that Lewis is driving now.

  21. What I would like to know is where are they with next year’s car and how much this is messing them up for years to come?
    It doesn’t look good.
    Perez’ car in Monaco was seen to have deeper Venturi tunnels underneath which apparently help keep the airflow consistent. I wonder if the Mercs compact design at the rear doesn’t allow for this?

    1. That depends heavily on what they get the FIA to do.

      If Mercedes get all the extra suspension options they’re hoping for, they could be golden, and everyone else will have to scramble to follow them down a path that simply doesn’t work under the current rules set.

  22. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    18th June 2022, 12:14

    Man very used to very, very good cars now driving a not so good one apparently in shock that it’s unpleasant to drive.

  23. His incessant moaning is just unbearable. Can’t wait for him to quit the sport.

  24. Tiaki Porangi
    18th June 2022, 13:26

    Understand the difficulties he’s going through, but the public criticism of the car – and, by implication, the team – is not good for him, nor for the image of the team and their sponsor, Mercedes.
    It’s beginning to resemble the Alonso-Honda relationship at McLaren.
    I think Lewis needs his father in his garage, to tell him to mouth his criticisms internally. Everyone can see that the car is bad compared to the other cars they’ve given him, but Mercedes have the resources and technical know-how to fix things.
    As a Lewis fan, I hate seeing him in this position, but he needs to keep the talking for the team debriefs.

  25. The behaviour he is describing has been very noticeable. Their car was doing that last year in bahrain too, the change to the 21 construction through merc off as well. Looks like there is lots of grip but the contact patch is varying constantly, it is not smooth. Frankly they look to be running a car that is fundamentally too stiff. Perhaps their chassis is too stiff, not a problem f1 cars have faced for a while, with the old tyres a car could only be as stiff as that massive sidewall but now the sidewell deflects very little. The merc is visibly hopping. A soft spring can make a car bounce but not in this way, the car is not bouncing, the car is skipping the road, as a result the contact patch varies and so does the grip from very little to loads of grip and there is no way any driver can use the grip of the car like that. The merc looks like a quick car to me, but unusable.

    1. greasemonkey
      18th June 2022, 14:44

      Poorly tuned karts on high grip events (Regional, Nationals, etc) can hop very bad. Karters wear kevlar rib protection in large part for this. The high G jack hammer to the ribs often cracks them.

      I’m not saying the whole package of pain is equivalent. All I am doing is pointing out that this is very correct: too stiff and poorly tuned can result in hopping/skipping.

      IOW, this is a third separate “mode” of problem, in addition to the aero porpoising, and the sheer bottoming out.

  26. Alonso is known for slowly after years destroying the spirit of a team. Lewis is truly greater he can do it in months…

  27. Wow just reading all these lets bash lewis, kick him in the… Really disappoints me. Its as though all you people have been waiting soo many years to have this opportunity. Well do carry on because who knows how long Mercedes will be this way. And ofcause u are all right.Lewis is useless.it was always the car the team the partner that got him to win all those 100 plus races and poles amlnd championships. He just there to fill in the place of colour. He cant be that good. Even Russel is beating him. I mean how bad is Russel that even he can beat Lewis in the same car.

    1. greasemonkey
      18th June 2022, 14:54

      Being amongst the most talented of all time and having a personality that seems disingenuous and grating. We do not really know behind the scenes, as every public persona is an illusion. But in spite of his talent, his chosen illusion wears some people (like me) thin.

      I do think he was (and probably still is) the absolute best braker of all time (GP2 Turkey was the first time I noticed it). Even better than Senna. But I do not think he is absolute best in all skill aspects. Much like other tier one drivers over time, which he is, he is World Class in all aspects, and maybe absolute best ever in an aspect or two.

      Fangio, Clark, Schumacher, Stewart, etc, were not best in everything, but they were World Class in everything and best in some things.

      1. greasemonkey
        18th June 2022, 14:56

        Oops, lost a clause in editing…first sentence should read: Being amongst the most talented of all time and having a personality that seems disingenuous and grating are not mutually exclusive.

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