Lewis Hamilton admits moving from winning F1 races to midfield with Mercedes is “difficult”.

Lewis Hamilton can’t keep up with Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc in his limp Mercedes car. (Photo by Alessio Morgese/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton says working midfield in his struggling Mercedes Formula One car “is still racing” but admits he found it “difficult” not being able to fight for race wins.

The seven-time world champion was looking to bounce back from the 2021 World Championship loss to Max Verstappen by fighting for the crown this year instead, but the lack of performance from the new Mercedes car has prevented him from doing so.

F1 returned to ground effect car designs this year for the first time since the 1980s, to allow cars to follow each other more closely and allow drivers to race harder. So far the changes appear to be having the desired effect, with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen engaging in exciting tactical battles for the lead in the opening races.

Mercedes, on the other hand, is struggling with the transition to the new technical generation and cannot keep up with the leaders Ferrari and Red Bull.

The W13 corners more slowly than its rivals and suffers from intense porpoising, the phenomenon that causes the car to bounce violently at high speeds on long straights because the bottom of the car is swaying air back and forth with little control.

Hamilton’s deepest ebb so far this season came at Imola, when he pulled out of this year’s title race after finishing a horrible 13th place because he couldn’t overtake the AlphaTauri and Aston Martin cars in front of him because the car simply had the Pace was missing.

After finishing sixth in Sunday’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix, Hamilton says battling midfield is an “experience” but that finds the move “difficult”.

“It’s still racing, just a different perspective, a different angle,” Hamilton said after another frustrating weekend in Miami. “You generally always want to try to go forward, but I will say that if you’re not really going forward, it’s quite difficult. It is what it is, but it’s definitely an experience.”

Hamilton currently sits sixth in the drivers’ standings, 68 points behind early leaders Leclerc. Mercedes has therefore not been able to determine what is the cause of their problems and does not appear to be making much progress in the foreseeable future.

“We’re just as quick as in the first race, so we just have to keep trying,” added the 37-year-old. Unfortunately we haven’t improved in those five races, but I’m confident that we will eventually. We just have to keep trying and keep working hard.”

The sixth round of the 2022 F1 season takes place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona over the weekend of May 22-24.

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General Sports Lewis Hamilton admits moving from winning F1 races to midfield with Mercedes is "difficult".

Nate Jones

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