(Motorsport-Total.com) – After three of the 23 races scheduled for the 2023 Formula 1 season, Mercedes is in the wrong world: George Russell, the 24-year-old newcomer who has never won a Grand Prix, has 37 second place points in the world championship. Lewis Hamilton (37), on the other hand, the seven-time world champion, is only fifth with 28 points.
Marc Surer doesn’t think Lewis Hamilton is in a form crisis
A distorted picture, as Marc Surer finds: “To be fair, you have to look at how it happened,” says the Formula 1 expert in a video on YouTube channel Formel1.de, which discusses the situation current Mercedes. – Separate teams. (Subscribe to the channel for free now and activate the bell to never miss a new Formula 1 video!)
In Saudi Arabia, Surer said Hamilton was “unlucky” because he couldn’t stop at the right time “because the pits were closed”. Other than that, his run there was “really solid” after botched qualifying.
And in Australia, Hamilton “had the bad luck again that Russell was able to change the tires at the right time”, namely during a yellow phase. Hamilton, on the other hand, “had to change at full speed and lost a lot of ground as a result”.
Why is ‘porpoising’ hitting Hamilton so hard?
Otherwise, Surer is confident Hamilton would edge his young teammate in the driver standings. Nevertheless, even Hamilton himself says he doesn’t get along well with the F1 W13 E Performance. Mainly because of the “porpoising” that Mercedes continues to face the most.
While world championship leader Charles Leclerc admits the Ferrari is also “porpoise”, but he doesn’t mind that much, Hamilton struggles with it. “Because he’s only driven perfect cars in recent years. He’s spoiled,” Surer suspects.
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Russell, on the other hand, is not used to perfect cars, in the past “had to beat Williams on the course, which wasn’t perfect at all, and sometimes worked miracles with it. Russell is used to driving fast with a bad car. Lewis isn’t as used anymore.”
The difference: Ferrari versus Mercedes
It also depends on “how a car jumps,” reports Surer, who has driven “ground effect cars” himself in his Formula 1 career: “If it always keeps the wheels on the ground and only the driver shakes , you can always go fast. And I think that’s the case with the Ferrari.”
It keeps the wheels on the ground, still has grip and can still approach the corner quickly. But if you have a car that moves and does like the Mercedes, then you just have a hard time getting into the corner at full speed.
Whether Hamilton will secure his targeted eighth world title by the end of his Mercedes contract in 2023, with which he would surpass Michael Schumacher’s all-time record, is “hard to say”, says Surer. At the same time, he specifies: “It is possible.”
Safer: Hamilton is still at the highest level
But the 37-year-old has to beat his teammate first, and at least it’s not a surefire success. “It will probably be decided a bit by chance and bad luck,” predicts Surer, but stresses at the same time that he sees “no problem” in the long term, “as hard as he drives”.
“Actually, I thought he would have a harder time against Russell, especially in qualifying. But he’s not missing much, there’s hardly any difference between the two. And in the race, Hamilton is the benchmark – he’s still on the radio, but still giving everything to the other side, so I’m not worried about Lewis.”
In that regard, there is little Surer can do about whether Mercedes will soon be embarrassed to have to issue a team order for Russell and against Hamilton. For example a “Hold position!”, as strangers in Melbourne already suspected, but that was not the case in the end, as it turned out after the race.
Why a team order by Russell doesn’t make sense
Something like this will only happen “when they have the chance to become world champions. Before that, it makes no sense. You don’t know if Russell might fail in the next race, then it will be again completely different. . It’s too early to think about that.”
However, Surer accepts an announcement: If Hamilton were to lose the 2022 team duel to Russell, it would be “a blemish” in his otherwise glorious Formula 1 career. “But I don’t think it comes to that.” And if you do, it’s not because you don’t have enough driving skills, but because of an imbalance between luck and bad luck.
Marc Surer’s interview about the situation at Mercedes in the 2022 Formula 1 season is now available in full (7:18 minutes) as a video on the Formel1.de YouTube channel.