Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton has taken a dig at his Formula One rivals as Mercedes chiefs continue to embroil themselves in a war of words with Red Bull and their other rivals over their inability to fix porpoising issues.
The Silver Arrows have struggled throughout the season to contend with runaway leaders Red Bull and Ferrari in the defence of their Constructors’ Championship thanks to their inability to stop the car violently bouncing at high speeds. Having won the last eight team titles, it is almost alien to see that Mercedes have fallen 118 points behind Red Bull less than halfway into the calendar.
And after reports that Mercedes principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull chief Christian Horner had locked horns in a fiery team principals’ meeting over new regulations that came into effect on Thursday, Hamilton has given his thoughts on the ordeal – aiming a cheeky dig at his rivals in the process. Max Verstappen labelled the decision as ‘not correct’, although Hamilton hinted that the Dutchman’s tone – and that of others he spoke to about the matter – had changed from what was said behind the scenes.
“It is always interesting seeing people’s perspectives and opinions in different lights,” said Hamilton. “Obviously, in front of you it’s one thing and another in the background, sometimes people say different things.
“Ultimately, I think safety is the most important thing. There’s at least one driver in every team who has spoken on it and I don’t think it’s going to change a huge amount. But there is a lot of work to be done and it’s positive that the FIA are working towards improving it. We have this car for the next few years.”
Wolff and Horner reportedly traded verbal blows over the FIA’s decision to introduce a technical directive ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. But Hamilton believes that teams should not quarrel over the decision, instead being made to agree on a compromise that suits everybody.
He said: “So it’s not about coping with the bouncing for the next four years, it’s about completely getting rid of it and fixing it so that the future drivers, all of us, don’t have back problems moving forwards.” Mercedes have yet to win a race so far this season, with their best finish being four third-placed finishes.
Red Bull have won all but two of their outings, and that could show no sign of stopping with Verstappen taking pole in Montreal.
Hamilton came fourth with an impressive time of 1:22:891, although that was over one-and-a-half seconds slower than Verstappen.
Meanwhile, Mercedes team-mate George Russell will start in eighth after a questionable decision to move the Brit to soft tyres on a damp surface.
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