Grand prix

“Bouncing is back with a vengeance” – Lewis Hamilton rues the return of porpoising in Abu Dhabi | F1

Hamilton qualified fifth at the Yas Marina Circuit, just over 0.6s off Max Verstappen who stormed to pole position.

After Mercedes stormed to a 1-2 finish at Interlagos last time out, it was a disappointing step back for the team as a whole.

Mercedes showed more competitive pace throughout practice, leaving Hamilton surprised by the substantial deficit to the Red Bulls, who locked out the front row in Abu Dhabi.

“We thought that this would be a difficult race for us but we weren’t expecting it through the weekend so far,” Hamilton told Sky Sports. “We weren’t looking like we were eight-tenths out so a bit of a surprising qualifying to be so far behind. 

“Six-tenths of that is just on the straights. Otherwise, I gave it everything. Looking forward to the end of tomorrow.”

It also seems that Mercedes’ lack of pace in Abu Dhabi is partially down to porpoising – the bouncing sensation on the straights – making a return for this weekend. 

The combination of bouncing and recurring brake issues made life tricky for Hamilton in qualifying.

“Well, bouncing is back with a vengeance,” he added. “So yeah, bouncing is back and that’s definitely losing us time. Otherwise, we are just so slow on the straight. I had some brake problems – we’ve had it most of the year. 

“The brake discs separate and brake temperature so when you hit the brake the car pulls one direction. If you’re going into Turn 5, it’s pulling to the right and it’s a left-hand corner. It’s not ideal.”

Mercedes sit 19 points behind Ferrari in the race for second in the constructors’ standings.

Charles Leclerc will start Sunday’s race from third on the grid, with the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz in fourth.

2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix winner George Russell only managed sixth in qualifying. 

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