Lewis Hamilton frustrated by Mercedes issue re-appearing

Throughout the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend, Lewis Hamilton faced challenges with pace, consistently lagging behind his teammate George Russell in all sessions, including qualifying.

He expressed frustration with Mercedes’ ongoing inability to rectify the porpoising issue, a problem that has plagued the team for three seasons.

Porpoising emerged as a significant concern in Formula 1 at the start of the 2022 season.

This aerodynamic issue, caused by the venturi tunnels under the car generating excessive downforce, led to cars violently bouncing on the straights.

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Despite efforts by most teams to solve this problem, Mercedes remains one of the few yet to overcome it, to Hamilton’s dismay.

Hamilton shared his struggles after qualifying, stating, “Unfortunately, the bouncing is still there. It’s very, very, very difficult to push through that first section.

“That’s why we like so slow in that first sector.”

Despite his ongoing issues, Hamilton remains somewhat hopeful, referencing a more positive performance in the third practice session with a larger rear-wing that, despite slowing him down on the straights, offered a better balance and allowed him to push more confidently through corners.

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However, the qualifying session did not reflect these improvements, and Hamilton found himself back to square one.

Yet, he remains optimistic about the car’s potential, noting significant improvements over its predecessors, barring the porpoising problem.

He observed, “I think if we took that [porpoising] away the cars really so much better than last year. In every area. It’s just that’s really causing us some real big trouble.”

Reflecting on his performance, Hamilton highlighted his improved pace compared to previous years, despite being slower than Russell.

He has shown progress at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, although Mercedes has fallen behind their rivals.

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Hamilton, less than a second slower than pole-sitter Max Verstappen, emphasized the critical impact of the first sector on his performance, mirroring challenges faced the previous year.

Hamilton’s journey in recent years at the Saudi Arabian GP has been marked by fluctuating fortunes, including a notable Q1 elimination in 2022—the first since 2017—and finishing eighth in 2023, significantly behind the pole position.

Yet, his closer gap to Russell in 2024 demonstrates an improved pace, despite the team’s broader struggles against competitors.