Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton suffered a series of setbacks in the recent Interlagos sprint race, dropping from fifth to seventh place by the end of the race.
Hamilton, who started the sprint race in a promising position, had to contend with a number of problems that hampered his performance. After the race, he described the event as “very tough” due to a combination of understeer, oversteer and unexpectedly high tyre degradation.
Tyre degradation problems
The Mercedes driver highlighted the significant tyre degradation he experienced, describing it as “the worst deg I think I’ve ever had here”.
The tyre degradation problem was so pronounced that Hamilton could not recall a previous occasion at Interlagos where he had experienced such a rapid decline in tyre performance.
Struggles with car set-up and aerodynamics
Hamilton hinted at a possible miscalculation in the car’s set-up, which may have contributed to the balance issues. He also highlighted the aerodynamic inefficiency of the car, stating, “We have one of the draggiest cars. This drag, coupled with the need for a larger rear wing, left him vulnerable to overtaking on the straights, as was evident when Tsunoda and Leclerc overhauled him with relative ease.
Disappointment amid progress
The last few races had offered a glimmer of hope for Mercedes, with Hamilton securing second place finishes, one of which was later disallowed due to a technical infraction. The sudden downturn at Interlagos is therefore a particular disappointment given the team’s perceived upward trajectory.
Looking forward to a new chassis
As the season draws to a close, Hamilton has expressed his anticipation of the forthcoming chassis change, indicating a willingness to move on from the current car, which has been difficult to manage and is in danger of becoming the first Mercedes car since 2011 to fail to win a race in a season.
Hamilton’s focus now shifts to maximising the potential of the remaining races and preparing for the promise of a new season with a fresh chassis. Something that can’t come soon enough for the beleaguered driver.
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