The new regulations, in effect from this season, saw the emergence of new aspects of the cars and racing – 18-inch tyres, less dirty air and perhaps most importantly it marked the return of hopping and porpoises. At the top, it was the Mercedes and Ferrari cars that experienced it the most, but it wasn’t nearly as much of a problem for the Italians.
That Spanish Grand Prix was a great weekend for Mercedes. The car looked more powerful than before, and porpoise (and hop) was greatly reduced, at least on the straights. It returned in Monaco. It’s still there in Baku. Hamilton has said the bounce is a result of Mercedes’ stiff suspension, which is made worse by bumpier road courses.
Carlos Sainz has already called for a debate on the problems facing porpoises, calling them health concerns. In fact, after the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, George Russell complained of back and chest pain. Carlos Sainz again complained about the porpoises today, as did George Russell.
also read: “I’ve completed seven races without being able to achieve a win”: George Russell speaks of not having won a Grand Prix with his Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton struggled with the impact on Friday
After FP2 George Russell had said: “It was a bit [the bouncing] but it’s just that the cars drive so close to the ground. It’s crazy out there in those high-speed corners, the car bottoms out. I think it’s the same for everyone and it’s really not comfortable to drive.”
He added that he believes this issue threatens the sustainability of the sport. “I don’t know what the future holds for this era of cars, but I don’t think it’s right to drive like this for the next four years or whatever we have. Conversations are needed for all of us because we really are all in the same boat.”
When Lewis Hamilton was asked about the most difficult part of his day, the answer was clear: “The jumping.” Hamilton also revealed he had been feeling a little sore from it.
Both Mercedes cars were over a second slower than the leading car in the practice sessions, namely Sergio Perez in FP1 and Charles Leclerc in FP2. In FP1, Hamilton finished two places ahead of George Russell, while in FP2 he was 12th and Russell 7th.
“It was a difficult day, we weren’t as competitive as we would have liked. Another tricky track to get the tires in the right window.” In fact, the session was packed with cars driving out of the barriers into the run-off zones. He cited a lack of optimal tire conditions and a general lack of performance as the reason for the gap to the leaders.
As for why he struggled more in FP2 than in FP1, Hamilton said they tried something new that didn’t work. “But we’ve at least tried and gotten data on it and now we’re going to go through it and tomorrow hopefully go back to what we changed.”
It remains to be seen whether Mercedes will get their problems under control or, like in Monaco, hinder the weekend for them. Qualifying will be very interesting.
also read: “It’s important to express yourself”, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel continue their fight for diversity and inclusivity in F1
also read: “Mercedes may surprise”, Sam Collins’ bold prediction ahead of the Azerbaijan GP
https://firstsportz.com/f1-news-mercedes-george-russell-and-lewis-hamilton-give-verdicts-on-friday/ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell give their verdict on Friday » FirstSportz