Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are off to a poor start once again in the 2023 season. Mercedes were hoping to take the challenge to Red Bull after a disappointing 2022 season, but unfortunately, it is more or less the same for Mercedes this season as well.
Red Bull Racing has developed a dominant car for the 2023 season. They have won all of the Grand Prix so far this season. It is looking likely that Red Bull will once again take home the WCC trophy.
After the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year, Mercedes issued an apology to their fans and promised them that they will be back on top. The team was hoping to get some good upgrades for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but whatever they did was not enough to keep up with the pace of Aston Martin as well.
We’re together through thick and thin – from Toto, Lewis and George, to every single woman and man in the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. And we love the challenge. 💪
We have a message for you, Team ❤️👇
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 11, 2023
Mercedes is a team that is not used to failure and loss. Ever since Mercedes’s return to Formula 1, they have won 8 WCCs and 7 WDCs. They have had one of the most successful championship runs in Formula 1 history.
What did Lewis Hamilton say after a poor performance at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix?
Although things were looking up after the Australian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton scored his first podium of the season, things did not go so well in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton finished in 6th place behind Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. Two years back, if anyone had said that Mercedes will be struggling to beat Aston Martin, they would have been laughed out of the room. But today, it is a reality.
Lewis Hamilton showed his frustrations earlier this season when he said that Mercedes was not listening to his suggestions. After the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton stated that the safety car “really kicked me in the teeth.”
After the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Hamilton said:
“I think we knew already from early on that we would have quite a few races until this upgrade, so it’s been just counting the days down or counting the weeks down,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“We don’t currently quite know exactly how good the upgrade will be, but we know it will be the start of something new for us.”
Gave it our all. P6 for Lewis and P8 for George in Baku. 🏁 pic.twitter.com/sxBgPDtVq4
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) April 30, 2023
Lewis Hamilton was running in 5th place after the opening lap of the Grand Prix. He was looking good to overtake Sainz as well. But after he pit for fresh hard tires on lap 10, the safety car was brought out by an incident concerning Nyck de Vries.
This proved to hurt Hamilton as the cars ahead of him were able to get a free pit stop due to the safety car. Hamilton was in 7th place after all the other cars pitted during the safety car period. He was able to get past Lance Stroll in one of the Aston Martins but was not able to get past Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso ahead of him.
Hamilton also stated that he probably would have been able to finish higher if not for the safety car, He believes that he had the pace to get past Sainz and stay ahead of Alonso if not for the Safety Car.
What changes are Mercedes making to improve performance?
Mercedes has already announced a shuffle in the technical team bringing back James Allison to work full-time as Technical Director. This could prove to be an important move in developing the car and taking the fight to Red Bull.
Formula 1’s latest Billionaire, Toto Wolff has also announced that they would be trying out new concepts on the car to see what works and what doesn’t. There have been indications that they will abandon the ‘Slim Sidepod’ concept on the car. Mercedes is the only car on the grid using the slim side pods and it doesn’t seem like it is helping them.
The upgrade the team has been waiting for should be arriving sometime before the Grand Prix at Imola on the weekend of May 19th. So we might not see Mercedes make any improvements in the car for the Miami Grand Prix.
It seems as though Hamilton is slowly growing impatient with the team. Hamilton has 7 World Championships to his name so far. He narrowly missed out on a record-breaking 8th championship in 2021.
The team will be looking to give Hamilton the chance once again to win an 8th Championship. However, if Hamilton loses his confidence in the team, we could see him retire at the end of this year, causing another season of musical chairs for the drivers.
Can Lewis Hamilton win another Championship with Mercedes?
Lewis Hamilton is currently 38 years old and in the final year of his contract with Mercedes. However, both Toto Wolff and Hamilton have been very vocal and confident about extending the Brit’s contract for the 2024 season as well. But the question remains, will Mercedes be able to provide Hamilton with a car to challenge Max Verstappen and Red Bull?
The Mercedes team came in 3rd position in the WCC last year. This means that the team will have more Aerodynamic Testing time than Red Bull who came in first and is facing an additional 10% reduction in their testing time due to the breach in the budget cap in 2021.
This could allow Mercedes to develop the car at a much faster pace than Red Bull. If Mercedes use their time efficiently, it could see itself catching up with Red Bull by the end of the season and maybe even challenging them for the Championship next season.
If given the right car, Lewis Hamilton would do everything in his power to win that championship.