Mercedes admits it took Lewis Hamilton’s Baku setup ‘too far’ FirstSportz

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton had a very uncomfortable weekend in Baku.

On paper, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes had a good weekend. George Russell and he took 3rd and 4th place respectively. The car seemed to have slightly better pace than in Monaco, maybe a little closer to their performance in Spain. However, this assumption hides some important circumstances.

While their pace was better in Spain, it was thanks to the absence of Charles Leclerc at the front that they were able to work their way up to the podiums. Of course, there’s no way Hamilton could have finished up front, maybe 4th or even on the podiums, without a collision at the start.

However, the car didn’t look nearly as good in Monaco. While Toto Wolff said Mercedes now understood the reason for the porpoise, the car still bounced everywhere. It was even worse in Baku, compounded by the bumpy and rough track quality of the track and the car’s naturally stiff suspension.

On Friday, Hamilton had complained of back pain and said the hopping had made him “sore”. During the race he called out over the radio: “Argh, my back is killing me!” and after the race, the seven-time world champion looked visibly distressed. So what might have been a good weekend for the team with a solid points tally was more of a nightmare for Lewis Hamilton.

also read: “Lewis Hamilton is the big loser of the season so far” : Ralf Schumacher aims at Mercedes drivers

James Vowles: “We just can’t do that again.”

James Vowles
Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles

It is understood at Mercedes that hopping and porpoises are separate issues. They mostly got onto the porpoises, but hopping has plagued them for the past two weekends. To get the most performance out of the car, the team runs the car as low as possible, but due to the stiff suspension, this results in a very bumpy ride.

In Mercedes’ race debrief on their official YouTube channel, Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles gave praise Lewis Hamilton for the resilience and performance he showed throughout the race, however, admitted the team made some pretty extreme choices in setup.

“He’s a top athlete who will push the limits of his endurance and the car, and that’s what Formula 1 drivers do, that’s what makes them exceptional. While we have pushed the package and our drivers too far on this occasion, we are causing them significant discomfort and we simply cannot do that again.”

He added that Mercedes will ensure that a weekend like this doesn’t happen again: “And we now have a responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t continue.”

Explaining the difference between porpoises and hopping, Vowles said:

“I’m confident we’ve made a step forward in terms of porpoises but we clearly have a jump and on the outside it looks almost identical but there is a subtle difference between the two.”

The stiff suspension. In combination with the very low ground structure and the bumpy track quality on the last two laps, there are ups and downs. “What’s happening now is the car is lower because the first issue has been fixed, but now it’s hitting the deck pretty hard and that’s creating the bouncing you’re seeing right now.” This is understandably worse on street circuits, as they tend to have poorer track quality.

Vowles said it’s possible they will see differences in performance from track to track as the season progresses and while it was clear they still have a long way to go he is confident they will be back at the event sometime this year top fight season.

also read: “He represents Mercedes,” Toto Wolff apologized to Lewis Hamilton after a painful race in Baku.

also read: ‘Fully qualified to speak your mind’ Lewis Hamilton defends Naomi Schiff after the broadcaster was attacked on social media Mercedes admits it took Lewis Hamilton’s Baku setup ‘too far’ FirstSportz

Subhankar Mondal

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