Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton has admitted that the team are flying slightly blind as to where their performance will be going into the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.
Hamilton and team-mate, George Russell, were presented with an erratic W13 at the start of the season, and Mercedes have not quite been able to get on top of the re-introduced ground effect aerodynamics.
They quickly became a victim of “porpoising” and bouncing, and any solutions they tried only seemed to overly compromise them in other areas in the early part of the season.
However, the eight-time champions’ fall has since been arrested, and their British drivers have managed 13 podiums between them.
In France and Hungary, they both climbed onto the podium places, with Russell taking pole at the latter, before the Brackley-based team looked, for a period of the race, as though they were in contention for the win.
Hamilton was also a factor in the lead battle in Silverstone, but was denied by Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez, so there has been plenty of reason for optimism in the last couple of months.
Mixed in with those promising days, however, have been qualifying performances in Spa, which saw Hamilton qualify a whole 1.8 seconds behind Max Verstappen, who strolled to victory despite starting 14th on the grid due to a penalty.
Russell was another three tenths of a second back in qualifying that weekend, but after the seven-time champion retired from the race on lap one, the 24-year-old gave Sainz a run for the final podium spot, in a stark contrast to the Saturday.
Mercedes were back on form in Zandvoort, but were again denied by Verstappen, before both drivers produced a fine display in Monza last time out.
Russell grabbed a third-placed finish, while Hamilton recovered to fifth having started 19th.
There have been so many contrasting fortunes for Toto Wolff’s team, that Hamilton simply does not know what their pace will look like heading into each race.
“I have no idea where our car is going to be great,” he said, per the Evening Standard.
“It was a surprise when we got in the car, and the car felt so much better than [at Spa], like completely different to the previous weekend.
“But I’m hoping more often than not, it feels like Budapest and [Zandvoort] for the rest of the races.”
Hamilton has been on pole and won a race in every season he has contested since his debut in 2007, and while that record is not of huge significance to him, he would love to win a race in the final six rounds of the 2022 season.
“I’m not focused on the record but of course, I’m trying to get that win this year,” he explained.
“But the record is not important to me, just because I don’t really care about records in general.”
Hamilton is the most successful driver in the history of Formula 1 having won seven world titles and 103 races.
It is set to be Verstappen though, for the second year in succession, who claims the world championship this season.