After a rough Friday of racing at the Australian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton revealed that “nothing” his Mercedes team changes on the W13 makes a difference.
The seven-time champion was just 13th fastest on the day, one and a half seconds slower than the fastest driver, Charles Leclerc, and his teammate George Russell was only 11th.
Mercedes’ problems appear to be likely to continue at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, with another challenging set of practice sessions scheduled for Friday in Melbourne.
The Silver Arrows have not had the best start to the season, with the car fighting for balance and porpoising at high speeds more than any other.
Indeed, Lewis Hamilton’s troubles were exposed last time out in Saudi Arabia, where he qualified 16th and finished 10th, and it appears like more unsatisfactory results could be on the cards this weekend in Australia.
With Alpine, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, and McLaren all faster than Mercedes in second practice at Albert Park, Hamilton is concerned about the lack of progress when making improvements.
Earlier on Friday, he was P7 in FP1 but only P13 in FP2, and the W13 was nearly a second slower than the Ferraris in the lead both times.
Such a disparity in F1 is enormous, and Hamilton admitted that while he is in good spirits, finding a solution to the car’s problems is proving extremely tough.
“No I feel good, I feel okay, it was a difficult session,” Hamilton said in an interview with Sky.
“It’s just nothing you change on the car makes a difference at the moment, so that’s the difficult thing you know.”
“You’re getting very optimistic and then you make changes and then it doesn’t seem to be wanting to improve,” the Brit added.
“We made some changes going into P2 [Practice 2], P1 was better and P2 ended up being a bit harder for us. So I don’t know, just a tricky car.”
“Well I don’t think it’s going to be tricky to find our way back, there’s just not a lot we can do, this is the way it is and so we just have to drive with it.”
“So that’s just the frustrating thing, you’re trying to push, you’re trying to catch, and even when you do a decent lap you’re 1.2 seconds down, so it’s difficult.”
Mercedes has been off the pace since topping the final day of the first pre-season test in Barcelona, despite Hamilton’s improbable podium in Bahrain.
But, with his troubles in Jeddah continuing in Melbourne, Hamilton believes there isn’t much that can be done to turn his fortunes around.