Lewis Hamilton compared the Mercedes W13 to the McLaren MP4-24 he drove in 2009, which he considered the worst F1 of his career.
In 2009 McLaren was coming out of a world championship racing season with Scuderia Ferrari and had not started the regulatory revolution of the era with a right foot. Then, outgoing World Champion Lewis Hamilton, then sole crown, found himself battling an unbeatable MP4-24 at the start of practice in a season that would be summed up between Brawn GP and mano to mano. Red Bull.
During the first half of that campaign, Hamilton had consistently finished outside of the points (the top 8 at the time) and only finished fourth, sixth and seventh. However, McLaren and his driver managed to raise the bar, with the Briton winning the Hungarian and Singaporean GPs and holding four pole positions.
Thirteen years later, at a time when the performance of the Mercedes W13 is near disastrous for a team that has come out of eight consecutive manufacturer titles, Hamilton wants to rely on precisely this example: “There are those who look and say that I have never had a bad car”said Imola after finishing 14th in the sprint. “And I can assure you it is. The 2009 car was a long way off and it was the worst car I’ve ever owned.”
“The current single-seater is not far from this experience, but I think it has a lot of potential. Just like this car.” [de 2009]we fixed this and got back to fight or game. And I have absolute confidence in my team that will do the same here.”
Lewis Hamilton drives his Mercedes W13 in Imola
Hamilton explained at the time that he underestimated the downforce McLaren needed to recover after the rule change. “The scenario in 2009 was my third year in this discipline, a whole new era for cars.”he reminded. “I remember coming back to the team in February or January and the aerodynamic experts and the guys at the top of the team saying, ‘Oh, we’ve already reached our goal.
“The new rules said there would be 50% less downforce in 2009, so they designed the car to have 50% less downforce! And I remember saying in February, ‘Oh, we’ve already hit our target.’ This doesn’t seem normal. ..’ was like”
“But I had no experience at the time. And then obviously we came to the first test and realized that the others had almost as much downforce as the previous year. And we went: ‘Damn, we have to work to get that.” he’s back.’ And the ultimate solution to that was the double diffuser, and we got there.”
For Hamilton, however, there is one big difference with 2009: the pitching phenomenon that seems to be the most important evil in Mercedes’ communications, and particularly prevents the W13’s potential from being exploited. “This time it’s different because the team didn’t think, ‘Oh, we’ve already reached our goal.’ We didn’t know where everyone was going to be. They were very innovative in design. And our wind tunnel was telling us. we really had a lot of downforce.”
“And unfortunately we got to the track and we didn’t see it… For example, there was no jump in the wind tunnel. And we were faced with this phenomenon. Fixing this experience is much more difficult than we could have done.” But as I said, it doesn’t kill us, it just makes us stronger. One way or another, we will find a solution.”