Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton Laments Mercedes W15’s Struggles: Facing Uphill Battle in High-Speed Performance

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton openly critiqued the W15’s performance after a challenging P9 finish in Jeddah. His frank insights reveal significant struggles, particularly in high-speed corners, emphasizing the car’s inability to compete with its rivals.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time world champion, expressed serious concerns over the Mercedes W15’s performance, especially in high-speed corners, following his ninth-place finish in the recent Jeddah race.
  • Despite the high hopes surrounding the Mercedes W15 as the team’s 2024 contender, its performance in the first two races of the season fell short, struggling to propel drivers into the top 5.
  • Hamilton’s experiences in the races highlight the car’s deficiencies, including starting issues in Bahrain and performance struggles in Jeddah. This has led to calls for significant improvements for Mercedes to stay competitive in the ongoing season.

Mercedes had set high expectations for its 2024 title contender, the W15, over the winter break. The team had developed a completely new car to challenge Red Bull’s dominance at the front. However, the initial races of the season painted a bleak picture of the W15’s capabilities.

The issues were not just apparent in qualifying, but also in race performance. Hamilton, known for his extraordinary skills and experience, found himself starting ninth on the grid at the season’s opening race in Bahrain. Even with his efforts, he finished in seventh place, as Mercedes struggled with overheating issues – a miscalculation of the conditions in Sakhir.

The second race in Jeddah was another tough test for Hamilton. Finishing in ninth place, he chose to stay on the track during an early safety car period. Throughout the race, Hamilton had difficulties keeping up with rivals, notably Lando Norris in McLaren, in the high-speed corners of Jeddah’s Sector 1. This gap in performance was evident as Norris steadily pulled ahead.

Post-race, Hamilton’s reflections were somber yet candid. He shared, “I wouldn’t say I’m having fun. I’m racing for ninth, so I definitely can’t say that. Finishing ninth is definitely not fun. But I am enjoying the actual racing part. I was hunting and I was pushing as hard as I could, I was maximizing everything I had with the car, I was right on the edge. It was just unfortunately really lacking performance in the high speed, where they were walking all over us. But there are positives. The car is good in low speed. We have to add a lot of load in the high speed. I think if we were able to do that then I think it puts us in the fight, but we’ve got some work to do.”

Hamilton’s insights provide a stark view of the current state of the Mercedes W15. The team’s journey ahead appears to be a challenging one, necessitating considerable improvements and innovations to keep up in the fiercely competitive world of Formula 1 racing.

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