Ex-F1 racer Marc Surer thinks Lewis Hamilton struggles with porpoising more than rivals because he became used to cars without issues. Formula 1 returned to cars which rely on ground effect aerodynamics for 2022, so early in the season, the phenomenon of porpoising, bouncing which is associated with this concept, has impacted many teams and has been a major topic for discussion. Mercedes have slipped down the pecking order, going from Constructors’ Champions for the eighth time in a row in 2021, to now clearly the third-fastest team, ahead of the midfield in race trim, but comfortably trailing Red Bull and Ferrari in both short and long-run pace.
Porpoising has been particularly apparent with the W13, Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell believing that solving it would unlock a chunk of pace. Yet, at the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari looked to be struggling with porpoising just as badly, perhaps even more severely, yet Charles Leclerc dominated the weekend to claim the grand slam of pole, victory, the fastest lap and leading every lap. Russell meanwhile finished P3, his first Mercedes podium, while Hamilton finished P4.
Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles insists the Silver Arrows have been working hard behind the scenes to “progress the car into a championship winner.” And his comments will be music to the ears of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell after their early-season struggles. Hamilton kicked off the 2022 season with an unlikely podium in Bahrain before a disastrous P10 in Saudi Arabia and a fourth-place finish behind George Russell in Melbourne. That has left the Silver Arrows youngster, who only made the huge step up from Williams this year, ahead after three races.
The all-British partnership appears to be a happy one, but things are not going to plan on track. Mercedes are well off the pace and, with their crack team of engineers unable to get on top of their performance issues, Russell and Hamilton have been left unable to compete at the top. Hakkinen claims it is a ‘fact’ that the latter will be thinking about his options. Express Sport looks at three teams that may be on his mind:
After the bitter and intense rivalry in 2021, switching Mercedes for Red Bull may be considered unthinkable by many. But in some ways, it is also the most logical. Max Verstappen is indispensable for Christian Horner and recently tied down his future with a bumper new contract, but sidekick Sergio Perez is out of contract at the end of this season. It wouldn’t be the first time that Hamilton has flirted with a Red Bull move, as Horner previously claimed that talks were held while he was still at McLaren.
Such a move would be one of the sport’s great stories after a fearsome battle last year, and it would also set up a timeless partnership with Verstappen. Though it’s probably sensible to avoid putting any money on that happening.