Hamilton admits 2022 Mercedes 'not far off' his worst car in F1

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Lewis Hamilton admits his current 2022 Mercedes is "not far off" the worst car he's had in Formula 1.

This year's new regulations have tripped up the eight-time defending Constructors' champions as porpoising problems leave them unable to extract the full potential from their W13 design.

As a result, Hamilton has found himself battling in the midfield for most of the opening four races, a place he's rarely been during his career.

But the seven-time world champion is quick to point out that not every car he's had since 2007 has been a front-runner.

“There are people that watch and say that I’ve never had a bad car,” he said at Imola. “I can assure you I have. The 2009 car was very, very far off, and was the worst car that I’ve had.

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“This car currently is not far off that experience, but I think has a lot of potential.

“As did that car, we fixed it eventually and got back in the fight, or in the game. And I have the utmost faith that my team can do that [with this car].”

Hamilton's situation at McLaren in 2009 does bear a lot of similarities to 2022 as a brand new set of regulations then turned the pecking order on its head, resulting in the famous Brawn GP fairytale with Jenson Button.

Back then, Lewis also found himself struggling to escape Q1 at some races but the KERS system meant he could make progress through the field on race day.

“The scenario in 2009 was I was in my third year in this sport, it was a brand new era of car,” Hamilton reminisced.

Hamilton 2009 MalGP

“I remember coming back in February, or January, to the team, and I remember the head aerodynamicists and team guys at the top were like, ‘Oh, we’ve already hit our target.’

“The new rules said that we would have 50% less downforce in 2009, so they designed the car to have 50%, less downforce!

"I remember I was like, ‘That doesn’t sound right…' But I didn’t have the experience at the time. And then obviously we got to the first test and we realised that others had almost as much downforce as the previous year.

“They were like, ‘Oh shoot, we’ve got to work to regain that.’ The ultimate unlocker of that was a double diffuser and we got there.”

Indeed, by the end of 2009 McLaren was back towards the front with Hamilton winning twice in Hungary and Singapore.


But the possibility of Mercedes doing a similar recovery in 2022 appears less.

“This one’s different because the team have not been like, ‘Oh, we’ve already hit our goal’," the 37-year-old explained.

"We didn’t know where everyone would be. They’ve been super innovative with design. And our wind tunnel was telling us we had really good downforce.

“Unfortunately, we got on track and we didn’t see that… there was no bouncing, for example, in a wind tunnel. And we came across this phenomenon.

“This experience is a lot harder to fix than then we could have ever imagined. But as I’ve said, it doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger. And we will find a solution one way or another.”