Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes’ new F1 W13 car is not yet capable of winning after problematic behavior in pre-season tests, and adds that this season the situation is different than last and that it will take them longer to find a solution.
Mercedes did not set the fastest times on the second test in Bahrain, but more than that they are worried about the problematic behavior of their car which bounced quite hard both in the main direction and in some fast turns at the end of the second sector with lots of locking wheels.
In Bahrain, Mercedes has brought completely redesigned sidewalls that have a completely different geometry than any solution we saw this year, and the team has yet to optimize settings around the new aerodynamic package that includes a new rear sidewall, mirrors and their ‘carriers’ and double wings on the chassis in front of the side intakes that aggressively direct the air downwards.
Russell said earlier this week that Mercedes was not in a good edition and shifted the role of favorites to teams like Ferrari, and Ferrari driver Sainz dismissed such claims, saying Mercedes does it every year.
On the last day of testing, which he finished in penultimate, 17th place, Hamilton said that Mercedes was in bigger trouble this year and that they would need more time to find a solution.
“It’s still a little too early to have that kind of thinking,” Hamilton said when asked about his team’s chances at the start of the season.
“At the moment we don’t think we’re going to compete for wins, but there’s a potential in our car that can lead us to that.”
“We need to learn how to get him out of the car and fix some of the problems, which is what we’re working on.”
“But we have some obstacles to overcome. We’ll see a lot better next week, but I think people will be surprised. “
“People say we’re lowering ourselves, but this year is a little different.”
Last year, Mercedes, after changing the rules about the dimensions of the floor in front of the rear wheels, had problems in pre-season tests, especially with the rear end, but still managed to beat Red Bull in a tense first race in Bahrain .
But this year, Hamilton says Mercedes’ problems are harder to fix.
“It feels a lot different, I don’t think it’s going to look as good as last year when we had tough training and then we were better in the race.”
“I think this time we have far bigger challenges, and they can’t be overcome in a week. I think it will take a little longer. According to what they told me, we have a significant amount of speed to find in the car . ”