Despite only finishing 13th in a difficult Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton says his Mercedes W13 is not the worst car he has ever driven.
After narrowly losing the 2021 Drivers' Championship in contentious circumstances, Hamilton came into 2022 with aspirations of winning a record eighth title, but has had to recalibrate his expectations for the year after a difficult start to the season.
This year's Mercedes struggles noticeably with porpoising, and Sunday's race at Imola was a particularly low point for Hamilton, who was lapped by winner and erstwhile title rival Max Verstappen.
But while the Silver Arrows' W13 is proving a tricky beast to tame, Hamilton says the McLaren MP4-24 he drove in 2009 began that season in even worse shape.
"There are people that watch and say that I've never had a bad car," Hamilton said after finishing 14th in the Imola Sprint event on Saturday.
"And I can assure you I have. The 2009 car was very, very far off, and was the worst car that I've had."
Hamilton expects Mercedes to bounce back
In F1's final year in which only the top eight finishers scored points, Hamilton endured a five-race pointless stretch, and was lying 11th in the Drivers' Championship by the season's halfway point.
However, McLaren found their form in the second half of 2009, allowing Hamilton to take two wins and climb to fifth in the final standings, and the Briton is tipping his Mercedes team to bounce back in a similar manner this year.
"This [W13] currently is not far off that experience, but I think has a lot of potential, as did that car," he added.
"We fixed [the MP4-24] eventually and got back in the fight, and I have the utmost faith that my team can do that here too."
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