Mercedes finally understanding “mood swings” of 2022 car

Lewis Hamilton says that Mercedes’ much-improved performance at Zandvoort, following their lack of pace at Spa one week earlier, shows they have a better understanding of their car now.

After qualifying 1.8 seconds off Max Verstappen’s pole position time a week ago in Belgium, Hamilton was just three-tenths of a second away around the much shorter Dutch track, despite having to abandon his final flying lap in qualifying due to a yellow flag.

He said the setback the team suffered at Spa had given them a clearer picture of how to set their car at Zandvoort and come into the weekend better prepared.

“The engineers have a much better understanding of why it didn’t work in the last one and why it works here,” said Hamilton in response to a question from RaceFans. “It has to do with aero curvatures and all sorts.

“I don’t know why we didn’t see it going into the last race because there were things we could have done differently and it could have been a little bit better, at least. Not two seconds quicker.

“Why are we missing that? We’re just looking at things of how we can make sure we’re better prepared from race to race.”

The nature of the Zandvoort circuit also suits Mercedes’ car better than Spa, Hamilton added. “Generally, this type of track, just putting the car on it, it just works much better with the ride height and all sorts.”

However Hamilton says the team cannot take it for granted they will be able to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari every weekend from now on.

“There’s hope that the potential is there,” he said. “But I have no idea whether the car’s going to be good or bad in the next races. You see when you come.

“It’s like a mood swing, like the characteristics of a human being. You don’t know which side of the bed it’s going to get out of.”

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