Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes should go back to the drawing board and ‘prepare for next year’, according to former world champion Damon Hill. The 1996 champion claimed the team need to look at doing a ‘major revamp of the car’ to ensure they can compete at the front towards the end of the season.
He warns the team need to ‘sort out what they’ve done wrong’ and ensure they can be competitive from 2023. Effectively ending the team’s chances of biding for a ninth Constructors’ Championship, Hill warned the team were ‘a long way off’.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “It looks like they’re back to where it was. What to do? They’ve got little room to manoeuvre with this car they have. They’re going to have to look forward further down the line whether they can do a major revamp of the car and get it into the winning category for the end of the season.
“I think it is looking more like they have to sort out what it is they’ve done wrong now, get a good handle on it from the middle of the season and prepare for next year. I’m not saying they can’t win races but as far as the title goes they’re a long way off.”
Hamilton has struggled to get to grips with his Mercedes package this season, picking up just one podium all season. The Mercedes star lies 75 points off championship leader Max Verstappen and has looked closer to the midfield than the frontrunners.
The seven-time champion lies just sixth in the standings, 34 points behind team-mate George Russell who has fared better this season. The team believed they had got on top of their issues in Barcelona with Hamiton’s race pace on-par with the leaders.
However, they failed to capitalise after Hamilton was involved in an early accident with Kevin Magnussen which left him at the back of the field.
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A week later in Monaco, both drivers started to complain of more bouncing which appears to have carried over into Baku. Hamilton was only 12th in FP2 with Russell only fast enough for P7 as the team struggled to find a solution to their issues.
Andrew Shovlin, trackside engineering director at Mercedes, admitted the team were ‘not in a good position’ after Friday. Hamilton added: “The hardest thing about today was the bouncing, we’re hitting serious speeds at the end of the straight and bottoming out. We’re facing the same problems as in the last race.”
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