'Dramatic Setup Change' On Hamilton's Car Has 'Massively Backfired' Wolff Explains

Friday, 22 March 2024 at 15:30
hamilton lewis mercedes car sambloxham4
Toto Wolff explained the reason behind Lewis Hamilton's poor performance during the Free Practice Session 2 at Albert Park Circuit.
The seven-time World Champion finished the FP2 (Free Practice 2) only in P18. Although he wasn't on a different tire compound than others, he was still 1.557 seconds slower than Charles Leclerc in P1.
The 39-year-old said afterward it might have been "one of the worst sessions" that he has had for a long time. The team principal of Mercedes, Toto Wolff, told Sky Sports F1:

"Well, we've achieved experiment but we haven't unlocked performance. I think in the second session, we've gone through a quite dramatic setup change on Lewis, and that has massively backfired but this is why we're having those sessions."

Hamilton's teammate, George Russell, who was on a different setup, had a much better session. However, the 25-year-old was still more than half a second behind the Monegasque driver in Ferrari.

"On the other side [George Russell] it was a bit better, but we are lacking performance. On a single lap, if he finishes that lap we're a bit better but overall, it wasn't a good thing."

Silver Arrows is currently struggling with one main issue: its simulations do not match on-track data. Russell said ahead of the weekend that his team had a few ideas as to why that may be, and they wanted to run a few experiments, but so far, it seems they haven't been very successful. Wolff added:

"If I would say that I'm not frustrated, it would not be the truth. Certainly we are [frustrated] because we're trying so much in all directions, but we don't seem to have found that silver bullet which helps get us in the right direction."

"We've got to keep trying. We've seen performance in this car before. I just don't want to go back and say we're just not good in these regulations because we have everything we need in order to get on top of that, and we will."