The seven-time world champion took a low-key fourth place in the final F1 race before the summer break, unable to halt Max Verstappen’s charge through the field to victory, but kept clear of rivals behind him while also picking up the bonus point for fastest lap with a late pitstop for fresh tyres.

But worryingly for Mercedes, Hamilton reported he suffered with F1 car bouncing throughout the race, a problem that plagued the team during the first season switching to ground-effect cars.

Mercedes was one of the teams worst impacted by porpoising at the start of last season and was still hurt by bouncing as it attempted to extract performance from its ‘zero-pod’ concept.

Having drastically altered its F1 car design midway through this season, Hamilton sparked concerns when he feared Mercedes is “back to the bouncing like we had last year”.

“I think it was kind of a non-eventful race, there wasn’t much really going on, I wasn’t able to keep up with the cars ahead of me,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.

“I struggled at the beginning, rear end is our biggest issue. Then we had big bouncing this weekend, so we are back to the bouncing like we had last year.

“So at the end I was keeping the Ferrari within a few seconds but I couldn’t get any closer to that battle. Then to get the fastest lap at the end, it was nice to have the gap to the car behind, it was decent. But it was gusty today and it was very difficult out there and difficult to keep it on track."

Lewis Hamilton at Belgian GP 2023

Hamilton, who later stated the bouncing issue was “everywhere” around the Spa lap, added that Mercedes would investigate the issue and aim to find a solution before the next race after the summer break.

“They [Mercedes] don’t know [what caused the bouncing] and to me it is a concern, but we will work through the data this week and try to figure out what we do before the next race,” he said.

“But I don’t really have much more answers for you. I know what I want and I am praying for it, I am just waiting for the day that we get it.”

Hamilton’s fourth place and bonus point for fastest lap has moved him to a point off Fernando Alonso in the battle for third place, behind both Red Bull drivers, in the F1 world drivers’ championship.

Related video