"One of the worst feelings to feel when you're driving a car": Lewis Hamilton pinpoints a key difference between Mercedes and other F1 cars
Lewis Hamilton has revealed another aspect of the Mercedes W14 that is affecting his performance. The seven-time world champion reckons that the W14's cockpit is too close to the front wheel, forcing him to alter his natural driving style.
Hamilton pinpointed this weakness of the car, saying that the designers had built a front-biased cockpit, which was against his liking. He further added that this trait makes the car 'harder to predict'.
Speaking about his preference, Hamilton said (via motorsport.com):
"If you look at the past, I've always enjoyed an oversteering car. I don't know if people know, but we sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers. Our cockpit is too close to the front. When you're driving, you feel like you're sitting on the front wheels, which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you're driving a car."
Hamilton added that this particular change has affected how the car behaves and makes it harder to predict its movement. A driver feels how the car behaves through the seat, and moving the cockpit forward affects his ability to feel the behavior of the car.
The Brit added:
"What that does is it just really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement. It makes it harder to predict compared to when you're further back and you're sitting closer, more centre. It's just something I really struggle with."
While Mercedes managed to resolve the porpoising issue which plagued the Mercedes W13, these changes have now brought to light the lack of pace. This deficit can be traced to the ground-effects concept chosen by a team that fundamentally lacks performance.
Hamilton believes that the aerodynamic traits of the W14 have further added to his discomfort. He said:
"On top of that, we have an aero characteristic, which is too forwards rather than being rear sat down as you begin to turn and coming off the brakes then moving rearward. Or the other way around: we have one that's very forwards, very much on the nose early on and then shifts later on. So, it's doing the opposite of what we want and that's what we trying to fix."
Lewis Hamilton seems to be unhappy with the team and is adamant that the car must change to extract more performance.
Lewis Hamilton reveals his lack of pace in the Saudi Arabian GP
Lewis Hamilton was out-qualified by teammate George Russell in the Saudi Arabian GP. On race day too, Russell finished ahead of Hamilton.
Hamilton reasoned that tweaks in the suspension setup made over the weekend better suited Russell. He said:
"There's one specific thing we can change in the suspension, which you have to do on a Friday night [after practice]… you can't change it for the rest of the weekend. You're basically rolling the dice. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."
Heading into the Australian GP, Lewis Hamilton will be keen to get the technical niggles sorted to bring home a solid result.