Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have been warned they may need to “take some big decisions” to give their Formula One season some direction again. The Silver Arrows looked to have turned a corner in Spain but struggled in Monaco and had a tough Friday at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Hamilton was left sore from his W13 suffering heavy porpoising in Baku while George Russell spoke of issues with tyres and said after second practice: “Ferrari and Red Bull, they seemed to be able to turn it on. At the moment, they just have an inherently faster car than us and we’ve done everything we can to try and catch up.”
And 1996 world champion Damon Hill fears for Toto Wolff’s Silver Arrows, suggesting the team have lost their direction once more and have some big calls to make imminently. Hill told Sky Sports F1: “It looks like they’re trying everything they can think of.
“If you listen to Lewis saying that he tried another experimental set-up yet again, without much success. This is where you start to go, fundamentally have we gone wrong somewhere with our concept?
DON’T MISS: Christian Horner claims Mercedes and Ferrari have ‘already’ lodged protests
“Then, that’s a bit more of a headache because you can’t just do that with upgrades, it’s difficult to do that with upgrades. They said that they felt like they had a direction in Spain, but it’s been lost again.
“They need to ask themselves some big questions and take some big decisions, I think.” Asked if Mercedes should write off their 2022 season after just seven races, Hill, 61, added: “A season is never a write-off. You’ve got lots of races coming up and still a lot of time, but they need to find a direction.”
Hamilton told Sky Sports after finishing P12 in FP2: “I’m a bit sore. We’re hitting some serious speeds at the end here and it’s bouncing a lot. We tried something experimental on my car and it didn’t feel that great to be honest.
“But least we tried it and got some data on it and now we’ll go through it. For tomorrow we’ll probably revert back to what we changed. We’re 1.6 seconds or 1.3 seconds [off the pace] or whatever it is, that’s a long way away. A lot of it is on the straights.”
F1 expert and ex-racer Paul di Resta meanwhile said of Mercedes’ prospects in Baku: “If they can influence the speed that they had in Barcelona they can be a contender, just in the nature of how this track is.
“This really sets the season up, I think where you perform here at this point in the year dictates how much philosophy you put into this year. I hope for the sake of the sport that Mercedes are in it because that means we are back in business, and we have got a three-way fight all the way until the end.”