Sir Lewis Hamilton has affirmed that the bouncing he experienced during practice ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix is more down to the bumps on the road rather than any aerodynamic deficiencies on the Mercedes.
There were concerns during FP1 when the 37-year-old reported an “incredible amount of bouncing” to his Mercedes team that the “porpoising” issue had returned to the car after they appeared to mostly eradicate it in Barcelona last weekend.
Due to the new ground effect aerodynamics though, the cars run lower to the ground, which means that the suspension is stiffer to cope with the different loads being put on it.
As a result, the bumps on the track feel more exaggerated than before, but that fact does not make it any more comfortable for Hamilton.
“It’s the bumpiest the track’s ever been,” he explained.
“It’s probably the bumpiest track I’ve ever driven so that makes one: difficult, but then two: just generally our car is quite… it bounces a lot.
“It’s different bouncing to what we’ve experienced in the past, because it’s in a low speed also, but it’s not aero, I think it’s just the bumps on the track making it worse.
“Otherwise, [I’m] not really having to learn the track differently, it’s just fighting the car, to put a lap together is… wow, yeah.”
The seven-time champion ended the two practice sessions on Friday 10th and 12th respectively, and was an average of 1.25 seconds off the pace of leader Charles Leclerc throughout the day.
However, it is unknown how heavy the Silver Arrows were running in terms of fuel, or how hard Hamilton and George Russell were pushing.
Team principal Toto Wolff is optimistic that the car is fast; the team just need to smooth out the stiffness that is causing the bouncing.
“I think we have a ride issue. It’s something we’ve had through the season and on the bouncing, sometimes it’s a combination between aero and stiffness. Today, it’s the stiffness,” he told Sky Sports.
“It looks like our car performs because we were quick. Maybe not at the end when we were on the hard tyres and doing the long runs but overall I think it’s a good car. It’s just undriveable like this.”
The Austrian confirmed that there are things Mercedes can experiment with in relation to setup to mitigate the abrasion, and quipped that he will give Hamilton extra padding if needs be.
“I think [we can] work on the set-up and try to make it a little bit more enjoyable for them,” stated Wolff.
“Of course, you want to have a fast car – if it’s fast, we’ll make him all the pads [Lewis] needs!”
Russell ended the first two practice sessions eighth and then sixth.