The seven-time world champion has endured a difficult season so far in 2022 as Mercedes struggle to get to grips with porpoising issues, with his most recent outing seeing Hamilton finish 13th in last Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. That result left the Briton seventh in the Drivers’ Championship on 28 points, 58 points behind leader Charles Leclerc and 21 behind fourth-placed team-mate George Russell, leading to some speculating about whether he would soon call time on his career.
Yet Hamilton seemed to brush off any suggestions of retirement with a post on his Instagram account on Wednesday evening. “Working on my masterpiece, I’ll be the one to decide when it’s finished,” Hamilton, who is chasing a record-breaking eighth F1 drivers’ title, wrote in the caption of a picture of him in the Mercedes garage. Among those to comment on Hamilton’s future was Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko, who was asked how he thought the 33-year-old would be feeling after a race which saw him lapped by last year’s title rival and reigning world champion Max Verstappen.
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“I mean, he was lapped by us,” Marko told Sky Sports News. “Maybe he is thinking he should have stopped last year!” Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko suggests that Lewis Hamilton may be wishing he’d retired from the sport last season, given the Mercedes’ current struggles. Speaking after a tough weekend at Imola, Hamilton acknowledged that his chances of reclaiming the Formula 1 world title this year were as good as over.
However, he vowed he will work through it with Mercedes in an effort to ensure he is once again in a position to be able to compete for the championship. “I’m out of it, for sure,” Hamilton said. “There’s no question about that, but I’ll still keep working as hard as I can to try and somehow pull it back together somehow.” “There is nowhere else I want to be. Just because we have hit a rough patch, it is not in my DNA to back out.
“We can fix this. It is going to be a painful year that we are going to have to ride out together.” Mercedes could have new parts available to improve their bouncing car in time for next week’s Miami Grand Prix, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin revealed. Formula 1’s reigning constructors’ champions have been wrestling with the porpoising problem since the start of the season.
In a debrief on the team’s YouTube channel following the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Shovlin underlined how the problem posed new engineering challenges which Mercedes needed to understand. “Hopefully soon, maybe as soon as Miami, we can start to bring some parts to the car that will hopefully give us an indication on whether we are moving in the right direction,” Shovlin said.
“We are not expecting to solve this overnight, but if we can get a clue that we are going in the right direction, that we really got to the bottom of what is going on, then we will be quite pleased that we are just moving on the right path.” The bouncing problem has forced the team, now third in the standings, to run their car higher than planned which affects aerodynamic performance.
Shovlin explained a lot of the work being done at the factory was to understand the phenomenon and see whether there was an aerodynamic solution to make it go away. “Being realistic, we think this will be something we approach in steps rather than one big moment where the whole thing vanishes,” Shovlin said. “But we are seeing encouraging signs… we are hoping to bring parts to the car soon, maybe even Miami where we can hopefully see progress on this issue.”