Motor sport

Miami rebound leaves Mercedes perplexed

After being the fastest in FP2 in Miami in his Mercedes, George Russell, underneath, was puzzled. “I don’t understand why we hit the ground running here. We knew that going into this weekend, with the higher temperatures, it would help us a little with warming up the tyres. This is the first really hot race. The car seems to be running well but it’s only Friday and we’re not getting too excited.

Lewis Hamilton was also relatively quick, but even more perplexing. “It looks like me, to be honest. We still have a balance problem. We haven’t cured him. But looking at the times, it looks like we’ve improved, so I’m not sure where that stands. I still have trouble with the car.

But the porpoising problem has been greatly reduced – as was the case with all cars. On a track that didn’t seem to cause the phenomenon, Mercedes was suddenly competitive again – at least on the surface.

On Saturday, the car was as far away as ever – and the porpoising was back with a vengeance. The ride height had been lowered for FP3 and the car was nowhere. Friday’s settings were restored for qualifying and there was still more than 0.8 seconds behind. It seems that the car’s problems returned with the increase in track grip.

Friday had turned out to be a false dawn. “It was a whole different beast today,” Russell said after failing to graduate from Q2. “The rear of the car is bouncing around and you just don’t have any support or stability at the rear. Yesterday we were flying in the first sector and I had so much confidence in the car… We don’t really understand why that is different.