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Mercedes grapples with setup woes as Hamilton struggles in Australian Grand Prix practice

Posted : 22 March 2024

During the second free-practice session at the Australian Grand Prix, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton faced significant challenges attributed to a mishandled setup change on his car, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. Hamilton's disappointment was palpable as he struggled to find pace, finishing with the 18th fastest lap, more than 1.5 seconds adrift from the leading pace set by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at Albert Park.


Hamilton's struggles contrasted starkly with the performance of his teammate George Russell, who had shown promise earlier with a third-place finish in the initial session. However, both drivers encountered difficulties with the balance of their cars, resulting in skids off the track during practice. Wolff revealed that the team had implemented significant setup alterations in an attempt to improve performance, acknowledging that while the changes had backfired for Hamilton, they provided some improvement for Russell.


The challenges faced by Mercedes reflect broader difficulties for the team as they strive to unlock performance amidst a demanding start to the season. Currently sitting fourth in the constructors' championship behind Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren, Mercedes is grappling with the absence of a definitive solution to enhance their car's competitiveness. Wolff expressed a degree of frustration with the team's progress, acknowledging the relentless pursuit of solutions while emphasizing the need to discover the elusive "silver bullet" to propel them forward in the right direction.


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