In a recent interview, Lewis Hamilton was candid about Mercedes’ present troubles. The seven-time World Champion claims the W13 is nearly as bad as his 2009 McLaren.

The 2009 McLaren MP4-24 battled for pace throughout the season, although Hamilton was able to salvage two victories thanks to significant modifications.

Hamilton is well aware of the perception among the Formula 1 community that he has never had a bad car in his career. Hamilton dubbed the MP4-24 the “worst vehicle” he’s ever driven in Formula 1.

“There are people that watch and say that I’ve never had a bad car” he said. “And I can assure you I have. The 2009 car was very, very far off, and was the worst car that I’ve had“.

Driving the Mercedes W13, according to Hamilton, is similar to driving the difficult MP4-24. Hamilton, like in 2009, believes Mercedes will follow McLaren’s lead and extract speed from the W13.

“This car currently is not far off that experience, but I think has a lot of potential,” Hamilton said.“As did that car, we fixed it eventually and got back in the fight, or in the game. And I have the utmost faith that my team can do that here too.”

Looking back on the 2009 Formula 1 season, Hamilton says that his lack of expertise hampered him as he and McLaren struggled to comply with new regulations being his third year in Formula 1.

“The scenario in 2009 was I was in my third year in this sport, it was a brand new era of car and I remember coming back in February, or January, to the team, and I remember the head aerodynamicists and team guys at the top were like, ‘Oh, we’ve already hit our target.’

“The new rules said that we would have 50% less downforce in 2009, so they designed the car to have 50%, less downforce! And I remember in February, we were like, Oh, we’ve already hit our target, and I was like, That doesn’t sound right,” the seven-time Formula 1 world champion added.

“But I didn’t have the experience at the time. And then obviously we got to the first test and we realised that others had almost as much downforce as the previous year”.

“And they were like, Oh shoot, we’ve got to work to regain that and the ultimate unlocker of that was a double diffuser and we got there.”

The absence of linkage between the wind tunnel and the racetrack is a significant difference between his 2009 and 2022 problems.

“This one’s different because the team have not been like, Oh, we’ve already hit our goal.”

“We didn’t know where everyone would be. They’ve been super innovative with design and our wind tunnel was telling we had really good downforce.”

“And unfortunately, we got on track and we didn’t see that… There was no bouncing, for example, in a wind tunnel. And we came across this phenomenon.”

“This experience is a lot harder to fix than then we could have ever imagined. But as I’ve said, it doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger. And we will find a solution one way or another.”

Hamilton’s difficulties continued at Imola, with a P13 result on Sunday. He was lapped by race leader Max Verstappen after failing to pass Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: