Pace-setter Hamilton struggled on Canada bumps
By Mat Coch
Saturday 17th June, 2023 - 9:15am
Lewis Hamilton admitted he struggled on the bumps around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after topping Free Practice 2 for the Canadian Grand Prix.
In response, Free Practice 2 was extended by 30 minutes to claw back at least some of the lost time.
That created an unusual session, twice interrupted by red flags, and ultimately impacted by rain in the final moments.
Therefore, Mercedes’ position at the top of the timesheets is not directly comparable to its rivals, with Ferrari performing its performance running early and Red Bull seeing its qualifying simulations interrupted by red flags.
“I’m glad that we got to go out, and it was nice to have an hour and a half session, but it was a bit of a … we haven’t had an hour and a half for a long time, so then I felt like the time was not used optimally,” Hamilton said.
While quickest on the timesheets, the seven-time champion was not entirely pleased with his car, especially regarding the ride.
“Today, I think it’s probably the bumpiest circuit that we’ve been on for a long time,” he ventured.
“A bit of a strange day because obviously, we got to miss the first session.
“The car didn’t feel bad, but I think we’ve definitely got some work to do.”
Pressed on the feeling in the car, Hamilton admitted he was struggling over the bumps.
“Not the greatest, but not the worst by far,” he said of the handling of the W14.
“It’s been pretty decent; it’s just bumpy – I think everyone’s having struggles with the bumps.
“So I think we’ve just got to improve our ride control and get a good balance through corners and I think we’ll be alright.”
Mercedes has revised its sidepod inlet this weekend, a subtle upgrade designed to reduce drag on what is a low downforce circuit.
Canada is the third race it has run the upgrades it introduced in Monaco, with Hamilton suggesting that has already helped take the car forward this weekend.
“I can only base it off compared to last year, and it’s massively better than last year, but the rear end is not necessarily,” he said of the upgrades.
“Overall, the car, it’s just a step forward, and I do think I’m definitely feeling the improvements that we felt in Monaco.”
A final hour of practice remains in Canada, scheduled to begin at 12:30 local time on Saturday (02:30 AEST Sunday).