Hamilton expects stronger showing in Barcelona
Lewis Hamilton is hopeful of a much stronger showing in this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix after describing his troubles in optimising the Pirelli tyres in Russia were down to minor issues with his Mercedes.
The three-time world champion endured one of his most difficult weekends in Russia, qualifying and finishing fourth behind his polesitting team-mate Valtteri Bottas and the two cars of Mercedes’ chief rival Ferrari.
Hamilton says that the precise requirements of the tyres impacted his pace, an area in which Ferrari has performed strongly.
“It was just a bunch of small things that all added up in one pot,” said Hamilton.
“Nothing in particular, not single one thing that was bigger than another.
“That just led us in slightly the wrong direction but it should be better this weekend.
“It is a tyre issue. So, in the sense of the tyre window working range is quite small, so the whole weekend I was generally not in the right window with it.”
Team boss Toto Wolff had previously said there were “no magic bullets” that would solve Hamilton’s issues, but the British driver believes analysis since the Russian GP will help.
“Coming into this weekend we have a good understanding of what went wrong,” said Hamilton.
“There has been analysis as there is race-to-race.
“We have grown from the experience of having won with a fast car and a car that struggled in so many areas.
“I definitely think we are better equipped now but I can’t say it will be better this weekend, I hope it will be. There will be upgrades for everybody and we will be doing work tomorrow to get the car in the right place.”
Mercedes will also introduce a sizable update to its 2017 car focused on aerodynamic performance.
The Brackley team will also bring a revised engine that has been tweaked to further improve reliability.
Alongside the power unit update, the teams has brought a range of aerodynamic devices to Barcelona.
The W08 car is considered overweight and has struggled to get the maximum performance from the 2017 Pirelli compounds.
Bottas says that while Mercedes is making up ground, it still has room for improvements.
“We are getting better as a team in all areas of the car, mechanically, aerodynamically, also with the weight – we are getting better and better,”said Bottas.
“We still have work to do in all of these areas, including the weight, but it is definitely getting there, and we are extracting more and more performance but hopefully there is plenty more to unlock.
“It is a tight battle with Ferrari, it is all about the details. Every single bit counts, and definitely we are trying to develop the car as quickly as we can, with all the new bits.”
The Spanish Grand Prix weekend will kick off this evening with opening practice scheduled for 1800 AEST.