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Damon Hill

Hill taken aback by 'ridiculous' porpoising on Hamilton's car

Damon Hill has expressed surprise at the level of porpoising seen on the Mercedes W13 during Friday practice in Bahrain.

Hamilton Bahrain
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Damon Hill has described the Mercedes W13 as "out of control", as the reigning Constructors' World Champions continue to struggle with 'porpoising' down the straights in Bahrain.

Having encountered the issue throughout pre-season testing, it only appeared marginally better as both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell bounced their way to fourth and ninth place in second practice.

With Hamilton having been delayed getting out on track at the start of FP2, as Mercedes worked on the car, 1996 World Champion Hill says there is no question that Mercedes are struggling to get on top of their problems.

"Possibly they've done a big set-up change, which is why they were late getting out, but it didn't work," Hill told Sky Sports F1.

"You could see from the onboard camera [Hamilton] was getting a proper shaking around. Whether he can actually see is one question!

"As the speed increases, the oscillation gets greater. You get the occasional bump, but this is ridiculous. That is just out of control stalling and releasing."

Are different set-ups making a difference for Russell?

With Russell seeming to have less extreme bouncing on his car, Hill wondered whether there were set-up differences coming into play across the two cars.

"George didn't look so bad – he didn't seem to have the same degree of problem," added Hill.

"[Mercedes] will be comparing set-ups; perhaps it's a set-up thing, perhaps it's something else.

"I mean, if you've got the same set-up and then one car is doing it and the other car's not, you've got a real problem!"

Hill suspects Red Bull superiority

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen finished at the top of Friday's timesheets, less than a tenth clear of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, and Hill suspects the RB18 has the edge for the start of the season.

"It could be very close," he went on to comment.

"[But] I still think Red Bull have got something in their back pocket [that] they're just not showing us at the moment. It looks a little bit too easy for Max.

"When everyone else has gone fast, Max went out – bang, there he was, quick again!"

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