Mercedes identify "encouraging signs" amid Hamilton’s dismal start to season

A Mercedes team engineer has suggested there are ‘encouraging signs’ for the Silver Arrows ahead of the Miami Grand Prix next weekend despite Lewis Hamilton's difficult start to the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Hamilton has struggled since achieving a surprise podium in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing P10 in Saudi Arabia and fourth in Melbourne. The seven-time world champion then faltered and limped home to finish 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix last weekend.

While Hamilton struggled to extract the most out of his car and was even lapped by 2021 rival Max Verstappen, his teammate George Russell expertly drove through the field to finish P4. His performance suggests there must be some pace inside the Mercedes car, even if team principal Toto Wolff referred to it as ‘undriveable’ on Hamilton’s radio.

The octuple world champions have struggled with severe porpoising throughout the season. Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin has revealed there could be upgrades set to improve the car ahead of the race in Florida next weekend.

“Being realistic, we think this will be something we approach in steps rather than one big moment where the whole thing [porpoising] vanishes, but we are seeing encouraging signs,” Shovlin said, via formula1.com. “We are hoping to bring parts to the car soon, maybe even Miami, where we can hopefully see progress on this issue.

“Lots of people are suffering with this problem and we know that lifting the car is a way of alleviating it. A lot of the work that is going on in Brackley has been to understand the phenomenon and whether we can actually control it, whether we can engineer it out of the car.”

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The porpoising issues have plagued the early rounds of the 2022 season for Mercedes, as neither Hamilton nor Russell have been able to truly compete with the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull. If Shovlin is correct, new developments set to be added to the car could see the duo improve.

Russell, who replaced Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s partner for the 2022 season, currently sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship just 37 points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Russell is the only driver on the grid to finish in the top five in each of the four races.

Meanwhile, Hamilton is down in seventh with 21 points fewer than his new team-mate. After his difficult weekend in Imola, Hamilton ruled himself out of championship contention.

The 22-race F1 2022 campaign – which is expected to return to a record 23 races in the near future once a Russian Grand Prix replacement is found – continues with the Miami Grand Prix on May 8.

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