Lewis Hamilton Highlights the ‘Little’ Sweet Spot of the Mercedes W15 After the ‘Best Feeling’ in 3 Years

Lewis Hamilton Highlights the 'Little' Sweet Spot of the Mercedes W15 After the 'Best Feeling' in 3 Years
Credits: IMAGO / NurPhoto

Lewis Hamilton would have felt like leaving Mercedes prematurely after the wretched start to their 2024 season. What was a major overhaul of their car concept has turned out to be more of the same old issues the Brackley team has faced since 2022, just in a different shape or form. However, their performance at the Japanese GP so far this weekend seems to suggest that Mercedes have rediscovered at least some of their lost form. The Briton highlighted how it was the “nicest” feeling he had in the Mercedes car in the past three years, after a decent qualifying in Suzuka.

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According to Motorsport Week, Hamilton said, “I think we did a really good job over this past week. The analysis everyone has done at the factory (about) how we can get the car in the sweet spot. The car’s been much nicer to drive this weekend, especially at a track like this where you need a nice balance. This is the nicest it’s felt over the last three years.

The seven-time champion contrasted the Japanese GP weekend so far with the one he had in Australia, and how he feels much better and more comfortable in the W15. He mentioned that their 2024 challenger “only likes to work in this little section”, highlighting how it only has a ‘little’ sweet spot as its ideal working window.

Hamilton then also compared how they were over a “second off” in Japan last year to the ultimate pace. That deficit has reduced to only “seven-tenths” this time around, claimed Hamilton. Apparently, the Silver Arrows have seen several such moments of hope throughout the past two seasons, but every time it has turned out to be a false dawn.

Can their performance at the Japanese GP finally turn out to be the table-turning moment for Mercedes? As for Hamilton, he would want it to be, given that he is still dedicated to performing at his best for the Brackley-based outfit.

Not the first time Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have been hopeful since 2022

Mercedes clearly have taken wrong turns in terms of car development several times since 2022. Still, they have faced certain moments when their car seemed to be working better.

The 2022 Spanish GP and the British GP were two such races when the W13 took performance steps and they seemingly resolved the porpoising issue. This perhaps pushed the Brackley team to carry on with their zero pod concept and not drop it for 2023.

Their faith in the risky concept also got vindication with George Russell’s win at the 2022 Brazilian GP. Even Lewis Hamilton felt good about that win, as he was only a second away to complete a 1-2 finish at Interlagos.

However, when Mercedes started the 2023 season with an evolution of their zero side pod concept, it unraveled more problems for them. While Hamilton was not having a rollercoaster ride and getting backaches due to porpoising, the W14 just did not have the pace to get the team closer to fighting for wins, let alone the championship.

When they brought a B-spec version in Monaco and Spain, dropping the zero pod concept, it again felt like they could turn a corner to get back to the front. However, as Hamilton suggested they unlocked some rear instability problems, which made the W14 more unstable.

So, whenever Mercedes has got some moments of hope, they have unlocked some more demons in their car. Hamilton and Co. would now hope that their performance at the Japanese GP this weekend does not become another false dawn!

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