The W14 still has some underlying balance issues from last season: Hamilton

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Despite seeing a strong Mercedes at the end of last season fighting with Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton has said that the car still has some of the issues it had in 2022.

Photo: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

On the first day of pre-season testing, the team reported that there were no issues with the car bouncing around as they had eliminated the porpoising problem, with the driver of car number 44 on the grid claiming that this is a big step for the team.

The first red flag of their running came as a result of hydraulic failure on Friday with Russell, as the car in general had a lot of balance problems in the corners.

Although the Brackley-based team said they were satisfied with the adjustments made to the car, the seven-time world champion said that some underlying issues with the W13 are still present in its successor: “It’s nice to drive it without the bouncing in the corners. But there are still some underlying things we’re working on.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s activities, the Briton said it’s still difficult to see the car’s progress from last year’s: “We’ve had a couple of difficult days and yesterday in particular was difficult. The first day wasn’t too bad. Yesterday was a bit more difficult.

“George had a much better morning today [lapping second in the times behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc], so things are coming up, so hopefully we’ve got the set-up in the middle of the place.”

Following that press conference earlier in the day, Hamilton set the 2nd fastest time in testing, 0.3s behind Sergio Perez of Red Bull.

The 38-year-old played down expectations for the upcoming weekend but reiterated his willingness to keep analysing the car and took the opportunity to express his admiration for the rest of the team members because of their positive attitude after going through such a challenging year as 2022 when they only collected a single race win: “We’re trying to understand the car, the tyres and the responsiveness. There are things we are working on.

“Some of the balance limitations we had last year are still there. I’m very proud of everyone in the team for staying positive after a difficult year last year.

“Unbelievable work all winter to come in and get the mileage we’ve had. Every year they come in with the same mental focus and the same determination to fix any problems we have.

“I like being in the offices analysing the data. Hopefully we can do that.”