Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton has admitted his jaw and teeth were shaking throughout the three-hour Monaco Grand Prix. The Mercedes star said the bouncing experienced by the team all season was at its worst throughout the weekend.
The seven-time champion is ‘praying’ the issue was not as bad at the next race but the Briton could be left disappointed. The next race is another street circuit in Azerbaijan so is unlikely to be as smooth as traditional race tracks like Spain where Mercedes appeared to have gotten on top of their problems.
Hamilton said: “Here is the worst it has felt so far just with the bumps. My teeth, my jaw moving the whole time, I’m done with the shaking.” He added: “Ours is so stiff, the suspension is driving it back into the ground.
“I’m looking forward to more open tracks and I’m praying that the next race isn’t as bumpy as it is here. If it is, through the slow corners, we might struggle but we’ll see.”
Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has also raised fears for the next race in Baku as he suggested the team were likely to face a similar issue. He said: “We’ve clearly got work to do ahead of Baku as there are a lot of similarities between the cornering sections and this track has highlighted our weaknesses.”
Hamilton and team-mate George Russell first raised their concerns during Friday practice. Russell even claimed it felt like his car was ‘doing a wheelie’ around the tight two-mile circuit.
He said: “There are sections where both the tyres are off the ground. Turn five, you’ve got the front right up in the air but it’s so stiff that even the front left is popping up off the ground as well.
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“There are points you’re almost doing a wheelie, you don’t have the front wheels on the ground.” Mercedes were unable to get a real hold of the issue throughout the weekend which limited their pace.
Team principal Toto Wolff also described the car as ‘undriveable’ at the start of the weekend. However, the Austrian later confirmed the issue was not down to the porpoising they have had to battle since the start of the season.
He explained: “We haven’t had porpoising returning, we have bottoming out. We’re just hitting the ground in a very different way, the car is too stiff, too low.”
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