Hamilton buoyed by ‘amazing’ fourth in Australia
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 13th April, 2022 - 2:37pm
Fourth place in the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was heralded as an “amazing result” by Lewis Hamilton following Sunday’s race.
The seven-time world champion trailed his Mercedes team-mate George Russell to the flag by some three seconds after managing overheating issues in his W13 late in proceedings.
It marked a good response after a difficult weekend in Saudi Arabia where Hamilton could do no better than 10th after qualifying a lowly 16th.
“It’s an amazing result for us as a team. Honestly, it’s such a positive,” he said of his Sunday result in Melbourne.
“We were 1.2 seconds off I think on Friday and it wasn’t looking too spectacular at that point.
“We did some great work over the weekend, overnight [on Friday], qualifying on the third row and then great starts. I was up in third.
“It felt amazing to be fighting, or feel like we’re fighting, for a podium in that moment,” he added.
“But obviously we couldn’t hold the pace of the Red Bulls, but whilst we haven’t necessarily improved the car over these three races, I think we’ve really extracted the most we could points-wise.
“From my side, I let the team down in the last race, didn’t get the points, but to come away with this result [in Australia], it’s great.”
Mercedes is, on raw pace, only the third fastest team behind Ferrari and Red Bull but finds itself second in the constructors’ championship owing to a more consistent start to the year.
Both Hamilton and Russell have finished all three events, while 2021 world champion Max Verstappen has had two DNFs to go with his victory in Jeddah.
Red Bull has only a 50 percent finishing rate thus far, meaning even with its relative pace advantage, it sits third in the constructors’ title fight, 10 points in arrears of Mercedes.
Both are light years from Ferrari which has won two of the opening three races of the year and scored five podium results in that time.
The rhetoric from within the Mercedes camp is that there is the potential within the W13, though solving porpoising is a key issue it has to address in the early part of the season.
It is not the only team to suffer from the issue; the Ferrari is clearly far from immune, though the Scuderia has been able to better manage the phenomena.
The key difference between the red and silver teams is that the latter continues to experience the bouncing as the drivers enter a corner, forcing them to shed time to settle the car.
“The only think you can do is come off the gas, I guess, and just drive slower,” Hamilton explained.
“But when the car is going up and down, the car’s bouncing, and if you’re turning in at 200 miles an hour and the car’s loaded and unloaded, loaded and unloaded, you can imagine that would have to be quite unstable.
“So that’s just what we’re faced with,” he added.
“But we didn’t have that problem in the race. It wasn’t really that much at all in the race, we’re just not very fast.”
While Mercedes is second in the constructors’ championship, Hamilton is only fifth with 28 points to his name, versus 71 of title leader Charles Leclerc after three races.
Formula 1 heads to Europe for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on April 22-24.