After a season marked by setbacks and struggles, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is cautiously optimistic about Mercedes’ prospects at the upcoming Mexico City Grand Prix. Hamilton credits the team’s improved performance to a major upgrade to the Mercedes’ W14, introduced at the recent United States Grand Prix in Austin.
Although the team ultimately lost second place due to a technical violation, Hamilton remains bullish about the effect of the upgrades on future races.
Hamilton faced reporters in Mexico City and commented on the challenges ahead, both in Mexico and at the following weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
“Predicting performances is always tricky,” said Hamilton. “But we’ve definitely improved. We were close to Red Bull here last year, and if we can get our strategy right this time, we may be able to really challenge them.”
In the current season, Red Bull has been in remarkable form, winning 18 out of the 19 Grands Prix held so far. In stark contrast, Mercedes has struggled to find a win since new design regulations were introduced at the beginning of the 2022 season. Their only victory came at last year’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix, where George Russell led Hamilton in a one-two finish.
Red Bull ill-suited to Mexico?
With the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City not particularly well-suited for Red Bull’s dominant RB19 car, Mercedes sees an opportunity. Max Verstappen, the current world champion, conceded as much.
“This isn’t our best track,” he said. “Our car hasn’t performed well on low-speed corners and kerbing, so it’s going to be a tight battle, not just with Mercedes but also with Ferrari and McLaren, who’ve been strong lately.”
Hamilton was disqualified from the Austin Grand Prix after the skid pads beneath his car were found to be excessively worn. He downplayed the incident, insisting that the performance gains were minimal and that the car’s upgrades were the major factor behind his strong showing.
Hamilton unhappy with Mercedes car until now
Hamilton also shared insights into the season’s trials and tribulations, saying Mercedes had previously stuck with a flawed design philosophy. This left him frustrated, feeling that his input wasn’t adequately considered.
However, the changes made in Austin have rejuvenated his confidence.
“Well firstly being able to feel the upgrade is one thing, which of course that’s always what they hope you would do, but just with the way our car has been over the past year, we’d add something and you wouldn’t be able to feel it,” Hamilton explained.
“Rear end is always the area that I’ve always wanted improved, particularly because of the lack of rear end you have, that lack of confidence to attack the corners.
“The step that we took there just gave me the confidence to be able to send it more, and I need more.
“It was a great feeling from lap one, and I think because of that, probably if it was a tenth upgrade, I probably got two tenths out of it just because of the extra confidence that I was able to carry throughout the race.”
As the Formula One season reaches its climactic stages, Hamilton’s renewed confidence and Mercedes’ upgraded W14 bring added intrigue to what has already been an exhilarating championship battle. And as Hamilton gears up for the Mexico City Grand Prix, the message is clear: don’t count Mercedes out just yet.
MORE F1 NEWS: Hamilton’s accusations prove to be irrelevant
Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from his second place finish at the 2023 US Grand Prix in Austin Texas. The FIA technical delegates reported his car to the stewards for excessive wear of the plank under the floor which monitors ride height.
As it is with pit lane speeding, thee things are4 usually cut and dry and the plank underneath car number 44 was indeed outside the minimum allowed thickness which proved Mercedes had…READ MORE ON THIS STORY