Hamilton: We are not at the expected level

Mercedes is struggling with fundamental problems and sees bouncing as an obstacle in particular – experiments with Lewis Hamilton do not work. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton only ended up in positions seven and twelve, but above all both drivers had to deal with strong bouncing again, which had made life really difficult for the Silver Arrows in Monaco.
For Lewis Hamilton, that was the most difficult part of the entire training day: “We reach really high speeds at the end of the straight and touch down. We have the same problems as in the last race,” he argues.
Russell gets even more drastic, saying, “I don’t know what the future holds for this e ra of vehicles, but I can’t see us driving like this for the next four years. We’re going to need to talk to each other because we’re sitting all in the same boat.”
In addition, Mercedes “clearly weren’t as competitive as we would have liked to be,” said Russell, who was 1.3 seconds behind the competition. The tires in particular are still a bit of a concern for the team and are difficult to get into the right window. “You’ve seen a number of other drivers only set their best times at the end of a run, while Ferrari and Red Bull seem to be able to just crank it up,” says Russell.
He has to admit: “Right now they have an inherently faster car than us and we’re doing everything we can to catch up. But even if we get the tires under control, that’s only 50 percent of the problem, the The other 50 percent relates to the performance of the car.”
And that was not the case with Lewis Hamilton on Friday, who was 1.6 seconds behind in twelfth place. According to him, Mercedes tried “something experimental” on the car in the second session. “It didn’t feel good, but at least we tried it and we were able to collect some useful data that we can analyze now,” he says.
“But we’ll probably go back to the original set-up tomorrow,” he announces.
He seems a bit perplexed: “I can’t identify any specific area that puts us 1.3 or 1.6 seconds down on the leaders. We seem to be losing a lot of that on the straight, so we’ll have to put our heads together tonight and find solutions.”
Chief Race Engineer Andrew Shovlin has identified at least some problem areas: “Balance isn’t a big issue but we lack grip in the corners and the straights are uncomfortable for the drivers so we need to improve that overnight.” he says.
“Our speed on the straights isn’t great either, but that’s partly because we touch the ground on the straights. We had some new parts on the car today so we’ll check if those contributed to our problems,” so Shovlin, who does not give a good report today.
“All in all, we’re not in a good position and it’s more about finding fundamental improvements than working on fine-tuning.”