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Lewis Hamilton has said Mercedes “can’t forever rely” on hardiness being their biggest strength as part of a plea to improve performance. The Silver Arrows are not quite in Formula 1‘s title fight this season, but they’ve been consistent in finishing races and recorded just one retirement from 26 combined race starts thus far.
George Russell was involved in an early crash at the British Grand Prix, while team-mate Hamilton has finished all 13 races on the calendar to date. That being said, results have been sub-par after Mercedes experienced setbacks adjusting to the new F1 regulations.
Almost all manufacturers have endured difficulties with ground effect and ‘porpoising’ this season, but Mercedes’ struggles have been among the worst. Red Bull and Ferrari have looked streaks ahead of their other ‘Big Three’ rival at times, leading Hamilton to suggest it’s the engineers’ jobs to turn the tide.
“It’s been a really challenging year,” the 37-year-old told ViaPlay. “I would say similar to the year we had in 2009 with the car that we arrived in the factory in February and they said the car was looking good and then we got to the first test and we were like ‘woah’.
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“As a team we’ve gone through a similar process of trying to strip away some things, rebuild, regroup and manoeuvre this car into a better place and we’ve had some really nice consistency in these last few races which has been great.
“We’re still lacking performance which is the difficult thing because I think there’s potential in this car but we’ve had to depower it to stop it from bouncing but we’ve had really good reliability. We can’t forever rely on reliability being the thing that keeps us on the podium so we really need performance.”
It’s perhaps too late to revive a title fight given fourth-placed Russell is already 100 points off leader Max Verstappen. Hamilton, meanwhile, is another 12 points off the leading pace in sixth.
But the Silver Arrows are enjoying a purple patch at present, with Hamilton in particular improving after five straight podium finishes. The seven-time world champion grew so accustomed to Mercedes leading the pack performance-wise, but F1’s current structure firmly favours their opponents for the time being.
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