Lewis Hamilton has pinpointed porpoising, wind sensitivity and changing temperatures as the biggest challenges for Mercedes at the Bahrain pre-season test, describing his on-track experiences so far this week as "tough".
After Friday's running, Hamilton denied suggestions that Mercedes have been sandbagging at the Sakhir track, with the Silver Arrows featuring behind Ferrari and Red Bull on the timesheets – going as far as to suggest a 1-2 for one of those teams at the season opener.
While respective run plans are unknown at this stage, Hamilton and Mercedes have admitted that porpoising in particular is giving the team a headache, as they try to find a trade-off between bouncing and performance.
Porpoising and wind causing issues for Mercedes in Bahrain
Reflecting on Friday's track action, which he finished in fourth position, Hamilton explained that "generally it's been tough" for himself and Mercedes.
"What can I say? I think it's just really the wind, it's the bouncing that we have – we still have that this week [and] if anything it's worse," he commented.
"We're just working through lots of different scenarios, trying to figure out how to hold on to the downforce and not have [the car] bouncing as it was in the last test.
"It's just difficult out there. It's bumpy, it's slippery, there's sand. In the morning, it's way too hot, and in the afternoon, it's just gusty."
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Mercedes working hard to "tame" the W13
Hamilton is confident that Mercedes' problems are not a result of the updated package they brought to Bahrain, with the team catching the eye by introducing a 'zero-pod' design.
"I mean, you can see on the onboards, [there are] tank slappers left, right and centre, and bouncing and bumping, [so we're] not quite happy at the moment, but we're trying to tame her," added Hamilton.
"The car definitely is different to [the last test], but I think it's more the tyres working with these temperatures, [which] are different here.
"It's a different machine this week, but I don't think it's the change that we've made. I think so much great work has gone into creating this upgrade.
"It's just hurdles that we're coming across with this new kind of car, that everyone's facing in 2022."
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