Nov.2 (GMM) While a new floor has paid off, and Mercedes has admitted that it must speed up its pitstops, the formerly dominant F1 team has revealed another major weakness.
“Honestly, we’ve been very, very slow on the straight,” said Lewis Hamilton, who has finished second behind his former F1 title nemesis Max Verstappen for the past two grands prix.
The problem, it seems, is that Mercedes’ basic 2022 and 2023 car concept – paving the way for the departure this week of former technical boss Mike Elliott – is “quite draggy”.
“We were losing like two-and-a-half tenths just into turn 1 before we even start braking,” seven time world champion Hamilton said after Mexico.
In contrast, he said the Red Bull is “very slippery on the straights”.
Team boss Toto Wolff acknowledges the problem as well.
“I think even if we had qualified on pole, we lack so much top speed on the straight that we probably wouldn’t have been able to maintain it,” he is quoted by Sport1.
“But that’s the development direction for next year and hopefully we’ll get one step closer. We have too much drag at the moment and our DRS is not at the same level as the others either.
“Those two things in combination cost us four to five kph and that makes the difference.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton defended his off-track lifestyle of “hustle and bustle” in conversation with the French broadcaster Canal Plus.
“I like the feeling of being in a hurry,” he smiled. “Generally I’m always very late, except if I have to get into my car. Then I’m on time.”