Hamilton backpedals on Mercedes comment after woeful Imola GP

Sir Lewis Hamilton walked away from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with no points after a dire weekend.

Sir Lewis Hamilton concedes that Mercedes “may have” got it wrong this year having affirmed in pre-season that he was confident such a fate would not befall them.

The turn of the new technical regulations forced the teams to adopt all-new philosophies as to why to design, build and enhance the performance of a race car, with ground effect aerodynamics and 18-inch tyres coming into play.

To try and build a chassis cohesive with the aero underneath the car, Mercedes rocked up to the second pre-season test in Bahrain with skinny sidepods, which Haas boss Guenther Steiner has since said his team trialled while developing the car last year, only to find that orthodox sidepods were the way to go.

READ: Lewis Hamilton warned he ‘doesn’t have the right to be uncompetitive’

Hamilton was asked in the off-season if he believed that his team may have made errors in the design of this season’s car having placed so much emphasis on their title fight with Red Bull in 2021, but he affirmed that he had full confidence in the Brackley squad to put together a competitive car.

“Why would I ever think that?” he replied.

“We’ve won eight [Constructors’ Championships] in a row. Of course there is always a risk, but we don’t make mistakes, we have very intelligent people in our factory I trust in them 100 per cent, and whatever we start with today we will work through it.”

Since then though, Mercedes have struggled immensely with “porpoising,” handling in the corners and tyre warm-up caused by the changes to the aerodynamics, and both Hamilton and Russell have managed a best finish of fourth thus far in 2022.

Largely, they have been feeding off scraps when misfortune has befallen Red Bull and Ferrari, and they were an average of 1.7 seconds adrift of Red Bull in Imola as George Russell ended the race P4, with Hamilton down in 13thafter a horrible race.

Article continues below

Now, the seven-time champion concedes that their team’s lack of performance is painful, but affirms that everyone is going through it together.

“It’s difficult, for sure,” he said, as quoted by RacingNews365.com.

“But I’m not the only one in the team, right? We’re all feeling the pain, we’re all riding this together, and we win and we lose as a team, so we are doing the best we can with what we have.”

The Briton admits that, despite his optimism ahead of the season, Mercedes’ adaptation to the new technical regulations has not been a smooth one.

“Earlier in the year, [when] we were in Barcelona, a question was put to me like, ‘What happens if you get it wrong?’ And [I said], ‘Well, we don’t do that, we don’t get things wrong. We’re World Champions,’” he explained.

READ: British ex-F1 driver tears into Marko and Red Bull over Hamilton jibe

“But the fact is, with all the possibilities out there, we may have.”

The 103-time race winner highlighted the importance of unity in times of adversity, and asserts that everyone is pulling in the same direction to resurrect the eight-time constructors’ champions’ season.

“What we continue to do is just keep our heads down, keep working,” added Hamilton.

“If one person is down, we rely on our teammates to lift each other up.

“We’re nowhere near where we want to be, but we’ll just keep fighting, keep working as hard as we can, and hope that eventually we see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hamilton sits seventh in the Drivers’ Championship after his P13 in Imola, but Mercedes are hopeful that they will have an upgrade ready for the Miami Grand Prix that will aid their quest for better performance.