Mercedes has endured a dire start to the new season with its W13 challenger suffering from a number of problems including severe porpoising that has left the eight-time world champions nearly a second off the pace. 

Hamilton in particular has had a difficult start to the season while new teammate Russell has fared slightly better and sits fourth in the championship as the only driver to finish inside the top five at each of the opening four races. 

Brundle was discussing Mercedes’ troubled car and Hamilton’s struggles as a special guest on the latest episode of the Crash F1 Podcast

“I watched it bounce its way down to Tamburello all the way through the weekend, thinking that just looks so tricky to drive,” Brundle said. 

"My experience of cars that porpoise, and unfortunately, I have had a lot with the amount of time I’ve spent in sportscars, is that a lot of the noise that the car is making is noise that you can explore. Some drivers can ignore it and some drivers can’t. 

“You look at the competencies of the team and Mercedes were incredible with their rear ride height management throughout the end of last year and in many ways they were in quite a good position, irrespective of the fact they lost quite a lot of aerodynamic time, tunnel time, CFD time to the way the regulations are set up now. 

“They had run a low rake car all the through last year, they had practice in how to seal the floor and I think they are just over-confident in their control of the ride height, using the much-reduced suspension elements that are now available to the teams. 

“When you watch the Ferrari comb the deck all the way around the circuit, the ride height control of it is absolutely spectacular. The Mercedes just looks absolutely the opposite of that. 

“I think George, bizarrely, because he’s had to scrap a bit in the Williams, is potentially in a position where he’s jumping in the Mercedes, trying to make his mark and if it hits the floor all the way down to Tamburello he’s going to brake at 80 metres anyway. 

“Whereas Lewis has been in a position over the last few years where he gets the car he needs to win the race, or he comes in the pits, tells the team it’s not the car he needs to win the race, they fix it and then he carries on. 

“Those are diametrically opposed flight paths into that Mercedes car which is why George, potentially, is making a better showing of himself while the car is difficult but maybe Lewis Hamilton will be the key to rescuing that car before the end of the year.” 

Could the dynamic change at Mercedes? 

With Russell currently 21 points and three places ahead of Hamilton in the championship, Brundle suggested Mercedes could face a difficult dilemma in the coming races if the 24-year-old continues to hold the momentum at the team. 

“What happens if George is still in it?”, Brundle asked. “And they manage to build a car and build a performance, do they then throw their chips behind George? 

"That would be a very, very interesting interplay at Mercedes.” 

Mercedes is set to introduce new parts, including a lower-drag rear wing, at the next race in Miami that the team hope will begin to solve the problems currently hampering the W13. 

Download and listen to Episode 7 now at the following links…

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