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Hamilton says the bouncing is back and Mercedes have to fix it

Published March 08,2024

Lewis Hamilton called on Mercedes to fix his car after bouncing to eighth place on the grid in Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying on Friday.

The seven times Formula One world champion complained that the handling problem, which the team thought had finally gone away, was still plaguing him for the third year in a row.

"It was similar to previous years. There are so many elements of this car which are better, but we are being hindered with the bouncing we have," the Briton, who is joining Ferrari next year, told Sky Sports.

"We made some changes overnight and this morning the car felt so much better. I was regaining this confidence again then when we get to qualifying it disappeared again.

"We've tried every set-up change and we can't get rid of it. It's difficult to explain it," added the sport's most successful driver of all time. "We had some bouncing in Bahrain but nowhere near as intense as here."

Hamilton almost failed to make the final top 10 shootout and said he really struggled in the first super-fast sector of the Corniche circuit.

"If you imagine when the car goes up and down at the back, your balance shifts forwards and rearwards," he said. "If you are doing that at 160 or 170mph, correcting that each time...

"We've got to fix it. It's like three years in a row. We've got to get on top of it."

Hamilton's last victory, the record 103rd of his career, was in Saudi Arabia in 2021 when Jeddah made its debut on the calendar.

Team mate George Russell qualified seventh.

"We're still trying to understand this car because we saw it in P2 (second practice) in Bahrain, we were P1 and P2 (first and second)," he said. "I was P3 and P4 yesterday in practice and the pace was looking good.

"There is potential there but we're still trying to wrap our heads around it and learn about it," he added.

Team boss Toto Wolff said the car was quick but on a knife-edge. "The drivers are struggling to squeeze out the lap consistently," added the Austrian.