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Hamilton: Mercedes has still made no progress with its F1 car

Lewis Hamilton says his top-five slot on the grid for Formula 1’s Australian Grand Prix has come despite Mercedes making no progress with its car.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Briton left it until the dying seconds of Q3 to deliver a lap that slotted him in behind McLaren’s Lando Norris, with there still a big gap to the Ferrari and Red Bull cars at the front.

But, although the pace of the Mercedes appears to be better than it was at the Saudi Arabian GP a fortnight ago, Hamilton said that the upswing in form was not the result of any steps forward the team has made.

Asked if the car was better, he said: “No, no. We haven't made any progress.”

Hamilton expressed his hope, however, that with the run of season opening flyaways coming to an end, Mercedes would now have time to work on solutions needed to make the W13 more competitive.

“I don't know what is coming yet, but I'm really, really hopeful,” he said. “I know everyone is working really, really hard, but we've had three races and no progress in the three races.

“So I really hope over this next week we can get as much information as we can from the race tomorrow, and I hope that we're able to somehow figure out how we can fix something for the next race.”

Pushed on whether he was concerned by the lack of progress, Hamilton said: “It's been quite a short turnaround. It takes a long time to make stuff. There's nothing particularly exciting coming at the moment.

“I wish I could be optimistic, like yeah the next one we've got something better coming. But at the moment we don't.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

While Mercedes has worked hard on trying to dial out the porpoising so it can run its car in a configuration where its performance is not compromised, Hamilton said that the team was still some way off finding the answer.

“In some places it doesn't feel terrible: it's just not as fast as the others,” he said.

“Where I'm really unhappy is the porpoising. That's the worst characteristic I've experienced in the car - and we can't get rid of it at the moment.”

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell said that the porpoising problem was the main issue holding him back.

“The biggest thing for me at the moment is just still the bouncing,” he explained, after qualifying sixth.

“I've been trying all sorts of things to be on the limit of the bouncing, and then it's costing me a lot of speed through the high-speed corners. And that's where I lose all my lap time.

“I don't have the confidence to attack with the bouncing. And you know, it's such a unique feeling from within the car, and when the car is going up and down, up and down, you cannot throw it into these high-speed corners. So it's tricky to find the right compromise.”

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