Hamilton details struggles with W14, unhappy with Mercedes seat position

Lewis Hamilton has revealed the seat position in Mercedes’ 2023 F1 car is one of biggest reasons for his early performance struggles. 
Hamilton details struggles with W14, unhappy with Mercedes seat position

The seven-time world champion finished fifth in the season-opener in Bahrain but was easily beaten by teammate George Russell across the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend. 

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Hamilton admitted he “doesn’t feel connected” to Mercedes’ latest challenger and claimed after the Jeddah race that his teammate’s superior performance was down to a lucky set-up choice. 

But Hamilton has now detailed the exact issues he is facing in the W14, which are being exacerbated by feeling uncomfortable with the positioning of the cockpit. 

"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,” Hamilton said ahead of the Australian Grand Prix

"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.

"If you were driving your car at home and you pulled the wheels right underneath your legs, you would not be happy when you're approaching the roundabout.

"What that does is it really changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement. And it makes it harder to predict compared to when you're further back and sitting more centred. 

“It is just something I have really struggled with.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 leads team mate Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 leads team mate Lewis Hamilton …

Hamilton stressed the positioning “100%” needs to be changed in the future. 

“I listened to the team and that was the direction that they said that we should go,” he added. 

“Had I known the feeling that I would have in it, it wouldn’t have happened. And it has to change for the future. 100%.”

The 38-year-old Briton also said the aero characteristics on this year’s Mercedes are “just too far forwards” 

“We still have generally a very strong front and not as good a rear as we would hope to have,” Hamilton explained. 

“If you look at the Red Bulls, the places where they get on the power earlier and the speed they can take through the corners is just because they have a much stronger rear end.”

Mercedes recovery ‘could take a long time’ 

Mercedes have already begun redesigning their car after accepting that continuing to pursue their unconventional sidepod concept was a mistake. 

Hamilton, who is out of contract at the end of the year and yet to sign a new deal, warned “it could take a long time” before Mercedes can compete with Red Bull at the front of the grid.

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"There is a part of me that is just hopeful we find the trick and are straight on to the right track that is not far away from the others," Hamilton said.

"We have shown in the past that we can develop quickly and hope that is the case that as the potential of the car opens up, we will full steam ahead in that direction. I am grateful they are open to making a shift and not being stuck with what we have and I am aware it could take a long time.

Hamilton added: "If you look at the Red Bull, it is just going to continue to evolve most likely.

"Some cars do plateau in terms of performance. At some point it can't just keep going. But maybe it can.

"They have a great team around them and I am sure they will continue to add downforce.

"We just have to make sure when we do make the change hopefully the drop isn't too far. 

“It is going to take us the rest of the year for sure to potentially close that gap."

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