Former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi said he felt embarrassed to see such a talented driver as seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in a slow car.
Mercedes had a host of issues to address in their W13 automobile which, despite being touted as a game changer and a significant improvement over their previous versions at launch earlier in the year, proved riddled with issues such as porpoising and a distinct lack of speed compared to other manufacturers such as leaders Red Bull and Ferrari.
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“When they presented the car in Bahrain, everyone said ‘oh my God, they did something very special and they will be untouchable’,” Alesi said.
“But lap after lap they found out the car was nowhere. And seeing Lewis Hamilton driving a car like that was embarrassing at times because Lewis is a seven-time world champion,” the former Ferrari driver continued.
The team made significant changes to the car it unveiled at the start of the season, but has yet to challenge for a race victory this year.
“But to see his ability to further improve the car was impressive. In Hungary it was fantastic to see George [Russell] in pole position and Lewis battling forward.
Hamilton, who has managed to win at least one race in every F1 season he has participated in, remains winless in the current edition of the championship.
After better performances in recent weeks, Mercedes remains confident of securing a race victory before the end of the season.
But Alesi sees it as a daunting task despite steps taken by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and his team to address lingering issues with the car in the opening weeks of the season.
“From experience, when a car is born with problems, you are not able to fix it,” explained Alesi.
“You can compromise, but compromise in Formula 1 doesn’t work, so I don’t really believe they are capable of being a winning team, winning Grands Prix before the end of the championship under normal circumstances.
With nine races remaining in the current season, Hamilton will be looking to continue his 15-year record by securing the top podium spot at at least one of the remaining circuits.
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