Mercedes: What went wrong for Lewis Hamilton and the F1 champions and is there one?

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Anthony Davidson explains on any powered Monday why Mercedes is fighting to compete so far in this Formula One season

Anthony Davidson explains on any powered Monday why Mercedes is fighting to compete so far in this Formula One season

During an unprecedented eight years of Formula 1 titles, Mercedes crushed their competition and was seldom in contention for the win. Any In 160 races from 2014 to the end of 2021.

Although a new era of F1 for 2022 brought many changed cars and rules, it was the dominance that made them a clear favorite for this year.

But in two thrilling races to start the new season, a significant, almost unimaginable, silver was missing from the front, where Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have already endured humiliating Q1 exits in qualifying and have already admitted they are “far away” rivals. Ferrari and Red Bull.

Mercedes is going to be a good and truly Australian GP, ​​and Anthony Davidson of Sky Sports F1 has so far given his insights into their problems, drivers’ concerns and whether there is a quick fix …

Mercedes 2022 season begins vs. others

The first two rounds of 2020 The first two rounds of 2021 The first two rounds of 2022
The best qualification 1st (Botas, Australian GP. Hamilton, Styrian GP) 1st (Hamilton, Emilia Romagna GP) 5th (Hamilton, Bahrain GP)
The best race 1st (Botas, Australian GP. Hamilton, Styrian GP) 1st (Hamilton, Bahrain GP) 3rd (Hamilton, Bahrain GP)
Combined points 80 60 38
Championship position 1st 1st 2nd (-40 of Leader)

When did the problem for Mercedes start?

For Mercedes, the problems were already obvious Before The first race of 2022.

After a steady first Test in Barcelona, ​​Mercedes turned up before the second Test in Bahrain with a wonderfully smooth new design for their W13 car, which many – even most Paddocks – will see as a team with a long history of acting. The new regulations find instant momentum.

Lewis Hamilton dropped out of Q1 in Saudi Arabia - the seven-time world champion failed to reach Q2 for the first time since Brazil in 2017

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Lewis Hamilton dropped out of Q1 in Saudi Arabia – seven-time world champion failed to reach Q2 for the first time since Brazil in 2017

Lewis Hamilton dropped out of Q1 in Saudi Arabia – seven-time world champion failed to reach Q2 for the first time since Brazil in 2017

But Anthony, one of the world champions’ simulator drivers, noted: “I already saw on the track in Bahrain that it wasn’t quite like the car I knew in the simulator.

“It was already ringing some alarm bells with me.”

And why that?

Porpozing: Holding the ‘interesting problem’ team

Mercedes has more problems than most with the ‘porposing’ incident seen this year when the car bounces violently in its suspension at high speeds. Not shown in the simulator, it completely defended Mercedes and they believe it is the source of 99 percent of their problems.

While all teams have experienced it in some cases to start the new year, the Red Bull and to some extent Ferrari have topped it, and in the last race in Saudi Arabia, Mercedes was often a second lap from those cars.

Aim for more top speed? W13 bounce away. Run the car less and get more performance? This leads to problems. So Mercedes has to drive the car higher to reduce the speed of porposing, abandonment.

During P1 in Saudi Arabia, Hamilton encountered problems with porpoising in his Mercedes.

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During P1 in Saudi Arabia, Hamilton encountered problems with porpoising in his Mercedes.

During P1 in Saudi Arabia, Hamilton encountered problems with porpoising in his Mercedes.

“I think the main thing is that they can’t drive the car at the height they want,” said Ant.

“I see a lot of other teams, for example, the Red Bull, it can scrape with a spark of soil that flies from the bottom. They can’t physically get that car down.

“You don’t really see it in a Mercedes or a Ferrari, and you see a lot of bouncing going on.

“I think Mercedes ideally wants to run where the Red Bull is, but every time they try and get there, the posing and bouncing becomes incredibly detrimental to the comfort and speed of the car.

“And it’s not just happening in a straight line, it’s happening at high-speed angles. Then the car becomes a bit baking bronchi and you can’t hang on to that thing. “

Although Mercedes and drivers Hamilton and George Russell were consistent with their message that the car needed more downforce and power – the engines also with a slight concern – they were consistent with their determination that the W13 has a lot of potential.

“The problem they got was that they knew they had the potential in the car,” Ant added.

“They know it can be very fast, but they can’t drive it wherever they want. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. “

What happened to Hamilton?

The biggest hurdle of the season so far will be the first hurdle of the qualifiers in Jeddah, where Hamilton came out of Q1 for the first time in more than a decade at unprecedented speeds to reach just 16th place.

Hamilton lost well to new teammate Russell and cut an inferior image after Sunday’s race where he scored just one point. When he conducted a podium in Bahrain – a double Red Bull was handed over to him by the DNF – a historic eighth title search was already in full swing.

Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson has shared his thoughts on Hamilton's performance so far this season,

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Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson has shared his thoughts on Hamilton’s performance so far this season, “If anyone can come back, Lewis.”

Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson has shared his thoughts on Hamilton’s performance so far this season, “If anyone can come back, Lewis.”

“Destroy him at your peril,” Davidson insisted.

“He will not give up, he will continue to be restricted and I think he went to Saudi Arabia by car to get qualified, he tried to get what he wanted from there. Running he found his rhythm.

“I hope Lewis finds out what this car needs in terms of driving style.

“Of course he is very adaptable, he was quick in any repetition of Formula 1 cars and there is no reason why he should not continue in this current generation of Formula 1 cars.

“He just has to find his rhythm. I think as time goes on, he and the team will work hard at it and turn this thing around.

Can Mercedes recover and when will they fix it?

Mercedes plans to “upgrade periodically” in the next few rounds, and they are ready to bring their first update to the Australian GP returning to Melbourne this weekend which should give them at least some performance.

But that may not be a “quick fix”.

Mercedes' George Russell says the team is making progress, but acknowledges they still have a long way to go to fight their rivals.

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Mercedes’ George Russell says the team is making progress, but acknowledges they still have a long way to go to fight their rivals.

Mercedes’ George Russell says the team is making progress, but acknowledges they still have a long way to go to fight their rivals.

“The car isn’t as good as the Red Bull and Ferrari, it’s in No-Man’s Land,” Davidson said. “It revolves around gray areas where you can’t challenge the front but you must be faster than the midfield behind you.

“I hope they will benefit… but it will take time, not a quick fix.

“And we should not expect a quick solution from Bahrain to Jeddah. There was very little time between them and it was basically the same car they took there. “

Mercedes itself says they are trying to maximize points until they return to the debate for race wins and pole positions.

Given their skills and history of work – when they overhauled the Red Bulls last year – there won’t be much panic. But the question is, once they unlock the potential of the car, how far will Ferrari and Red Bull go? And will they be able to catch up?

This is just another interesting story at the beginning of this new season.

Live on Sunday at 6am on Sky Sports F1 with the live Australian GP.

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