MONTE CARLO — Lewis Hamilton said he has never experienced anything as bad as trying to drive his bouncing Mercedes around the bumpy Monte Carlo circuit on Friday.
Mercedes appeared to have solved the worst of its car’s bouncing issues at the last race, the Spanish Grand Prix, but the nature of the Monaco circuit means the drivers are now experiencing a different type of bouncing, caused by the track surface rather than the car’s aerodynamics.
At one point in the first session, a flustered Hamilton told Mercedes over the radio: “It’s so bouncy out here, man, I’m losing my f—ing mind!”
Hamilton said he felt like he was battling the car the entire time.
“Firstly, it is the bumpiest track I have ever been too,” Hamilton said Friday evening. “It is the bumpiest track I have ever driven.
“So 1, that makes it difficult and 2, our car bounces a lot. It is different bouncing to what we have experienced in the past.
“It is in the low speed [corners], it is not aero and the bumps in the track are making it worse, so it is not a case of learning how to drive the track… it is just fighting the car.
“Putting the lap together is, wow…holy crap … I have not experienced it like that before.”
He added: “I remember back in the day my first years here, a light nimble car was so much better. But now we have these super heavy cars and the braking zones are different.
“It is crazy it is 2022 and the tracks aren’t as smooth when they are resurfaced, technology is still against us, but I think we made some improvements going into that session and when you do put a lap together the grip doesn’t feel too bad it is just eyeballs coming out the sockets…”
Practice suggested Ferrari is a clear favourite, with Red Bull comfortably second.
Hamilton’s teammate George Russell was the quicker Mercedes driver in practice and still a long way off the leaders.
Hamilton did not sound optimistic Mercedes can make enough improvements to take the fight to either team in front.
“We have some work to do overnight. As I anticipated we are not as quick as the Ferraris or the Red Bulls.”