Jenson Button on why the W14’s seat position is bothering Hamilton

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Lewis Hamilton recently said the W14’s seat position is a problem for him. Jenson Button explains why he believes that is, and why George Russell doesn’t seem as bothered by it.

Since the beginning of the 2023 season, Lewis Hamilton has been saying he doesn’t feel ‘connected’ to the W14.

While going into more detail on what is bothering him about the car, he explained:

“I don’t know if people know, but we sit closer to the front tyres than all the other drivers – our cockpit is too close to the front.

“When you’re driving, you feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels, which is one of the worst feelings when you’re driving a car – if you were driving your car back home and you pulled the wheels beneath your legs, you would not be happy when you’re approaching the roundabout.

“What that does is it changes the attitude of the car and how you perceive its movement, and it makes it harder to predict compared to when you’re sitting back, more in the centre and it’s just something I’ve really struggled with,” Lewis concluded.

While taking a look at the situation, Lewis’ former team-mate Jenson Button gave his opinion on the issue.

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“Well, he’s not feeling and I think that’s the biggest problem,” Button said on Sky Sports.

“With Lewis, the way he drives, you know, he’s quite aggressive on the throttle, quite aggressive on the brake and he does everything through the steering wheel, so he really needs to feel what’s happening through the rear of the car through his arms.

“And he’s not getting that, so he doesn’t have that confidence to push the car.

“And these cars are tricky anyway, they’re always on edge, especially in qualifying. And if he doesn’t have that confidence, he’s not able to get the maximum out of it.

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok added:

“And that’s the real point isn’t it, because the contact patches to the ground are through the four wheels, so if you don’t feel the rear axle, if he thinks he’s further forward, and he can’t feel that that, that gives him the inability, perhaps, to have confidence on entry.”

George Russell on the other hand did not have as many public complaints about the car, so Button gave his opinion on why that was.

“I think George has a different way of driving,” Button said.

“I haven’t seen George’s data, I just know the way Lewis drives because I’ve seen his data and it surprises me how different he drives to me, for example.

“And if George is a driver that always tries to keep the steering wheel as calm as possible, do everything through the throttle and brakes, manipulating the car that way, he’s probably not going to react so badly with this change to the car,” he concluded.

Chandhok ultimately said he doesn’t think the issue can be fixed this year.

“It’s not something they can fix very easily,” he said.

“Maybe for next year,” Chandhok concluded.

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