Lewis Hamilton has admitted he does not understand how Ferrari are dealing with proposing so much better than Mercedes after both teams’ cars were seen bouncing up and down during Australian Grand Prix qualifying. Hamilton was a second slower than pole-sitter Charles Leclerc in Melbourne.
Mercedes have been badly hampered by porpoising so far this season while Leclerc leads the Drivers’ Championship after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix and finishing second in Saudi Arabia. George Russell insisted the bouncing of his car remains “the biggest thing” for him to conquer.
Hamilton’s team-mate explained: “I’ve been trying all sorts of things to be on the limit of the bouncing and then it’s costing me a lot of speed through the high-speed corners, that’s where I lose all my lap time. I don’t have the confidence to attack with the bouncing.”
But Hamilton has been left perplexed at how well rivals Ferrari are dealing with the same problem. He admitted he wishes Mercedes could cope as well as the Prancing Horse are. The seven-time F1 world champion said: “I don’t understand it and I don’t think anyone does. I wish ours was the same, but it’s not.
DON’T MISS: Lewis Hamilton compares Mercedes car to a ‘rattlesnake’
“In some places, it [the car] doesn’t feel terrible, it’s just not as fast as the others. Where you’re really unhappy is in the porpoising, that’s really the worst characteristic I’ve experienced in a car and we can’t get rid of it at the moment.
“Basically, we just have to try to find a level of the bouncing, as hardcore as we can go without like rattling our brains out of our skulls. And that’s what we try to do. He [Russell] and I have slightly different cars, we’re trying all these different things.
“I’ve got something on my car which makes the car a little bit heavier. It’s not a huge, huge step, but hopefully, it will enable the team to gain more information from the race tomorrow. I hope from that we can start making some progress.”
Leclerc said on Friday when asked about Ferrari’s porpoising: “I think it’s more track-dependent. In Bahrain we had it a little bit, in Jeddah a little bit less and now it’s a bit more. So it’s not so pleasant, but we are working on that.
“For now it is not too much of a limitation lap time-wise, it’s just for the comfort on the straight it’s not so comfortable. But I’m not here to have a car that is comfortable, I’m here to have a fast car and for now it’s looking good.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes the Silver Arrows’ bouncing is “worse” because they are “carrying it into the corners, into the high speed, where we lose performance”.