Mercedes have a new set of bouncing issues at the Monaco Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton saying he felt like his ‘eyeballs are coming out of the sockets’.
The reigning constructors’ champion’s pace that seemed to return last time out in Barcelona was lost at the principality during Friday practice, with George Russell also struggling in his W13.
Hamilton only managed to finish 12th and 10th in the opening practice sessions, while Russell was better, but still a long way off the front runners in eighth and sixth.
New aerodynamic regulations for the 2022 season have led to cars bouncing as air gets trapped underneath the car, with Mercedes seeming to struggle worse than any other team.
Toto Wolff’s squad seemed to be getting on top of their issues with a return to form in Spain, but have clearly taken a step back in Monte-Carlo, with Hamilton’s attributing his struggles to the street circuit.
“It is so bouncy out here, mate. I am f****** losing my mind,” he said over team radio.
“I need elbow pads in this cockpit because it is bouncing so much. It is crazy.”
After the seven-time champion emerged from his cockpit, he was still in shock at his Silver Arrow’s performance.
“Well, firstly it’s the bumpiest of tracks I’ve ever been…it’s probably the bumpiest track I’ve ever driven, it’s the bumpiest roller coaster ride,” Hamilton said.
“So that makes it difficult, but then just generally our car bounces a lot. It’s different bouncing to what we’ve experienced in the past. It’s just because it’s in a low speed also, so it’s not aero. I think it’s just the bumps on the track may make it worse.
“I remember just back in the day, I mean, my first year here, just a light nimble car going around, it was so much better.
“But now we have these super-heavy cars that are heavier than ever before and braking zones are different.
“But as I said, putting the lap together is difficult, but I think we made some improvements going into that session and it doesn’t even feel like when you actually do try to put a lap together, the grip doesn’t feel terrible, it’s just your eyeballs coming out of the sockets. And so we’ve got some work to do overnight to try and fix that.”
Hamilton’s team principal Wolff was in agreement with his driver, explaining that the biggest issue now is the stiffness of the 2022 new cars.
“I think we have a ride issue,” he told Sky Sports. “It is something we’ve had through the season, the bouncing. Today it is the stiffness.
“It looks like that our car performs. We were quick, maybe not at the end, but overall. But it is just undriveable like this. We can work on the set up to try and make it more enjoyable for [the drivers].
“You want to have a fast car. If it is fast, we will make them all the pads they need [for comfort]. We are coming closer, learning more and more, so that is positive.”
The newest member of the Brackley based team, Russell, echoed his teammate’s thoughts, saying his car was even wheeling at certain points with both front wheels off the ground.
“Really tricky. To be honest, the stiffness of these cars are stiff, very, very stiff, around a bumpy street circuit,” the no.63 said.
“It’s not easy to put it on the limit and I think that’s one of the biggest difficulties.
“You have got to give it a bit more respect than you would do ordinarily, because the car is constantly just smashed against the floor. We’ve experienced a lot of that this year but this is a very different philosophy and reasoning for the bouncing.
“There are sections where both of the tyres are off the ground, like Turn 5, front right up in the air and that is so stiff, even the front left is popping up off the ground as well. So you know, it’s points you are almost like doing a wheelie because you haven’t got front wheels on the ground. So yes, tricky.
“I don’t know what more we can do to car, we did everything we can to try and make it a bit easier for us and to give us a bit more confidence. But you know, the guys and gals are gonna work hard overnight and see what we can do for tomorrow.”
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