Hamilton knew of Mercedes' 2023 F1 car “challenges” from first drive

Lewis Hamilton says he knew of the challenges the Mercedes Formula 1 team faces with the W14 from the first time he drove the new car at its shakedown day.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

His comments echo those the seven-time world champion made after his first run in the troubled W13 last season in what turned out to be his first winless campaign in F1.

However Hamilton says that the team is in much better shape as the porpoising that afflicted the old car is now absent, making it easier to push on with performance development.

"I knew from the moment I drove the car where we were, and the challenges that we would be facing,” said Hamilton.

"On the positive, not having the bouncing this year is a huge plus.

"Trying to understand what the problems were whilst having bouncing really masked so many things, it made it difficult to figure out what was up. So we don't have that now.

"And now we can focus on just pure performance. So I've been encouraged to see just the focus and the courage of everyone within the team, they are so focused on getting us back to the top.

"So we're not where we wanted to start a season, naturally.

"But this still is a multi-championship winning team and group of people. So I believe in them."

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, Angela Cullen, Physiotherapist, Mercedes-AMG

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, Angela Cullen, Physiotherapist, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Asked if he was as confident and bullish as team-mate George Russell appeared to be after several days of work by the team, Hamilton was more guarded.

"I wouldn't use those words now,” he noted. “But I think naturally for everyone who's gone through those three days will know where they sit and what tools they've got to work with.

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"So naturally, you arrive here with a much better understanding of the challenges that are ahead.

"And I think we've had a few really good days of digesting the data, I've been on calls with the team every day, really deep diving.

"Everyone's been working so hard to make sure that we arrive here the best prepared we can from the information we have. We still have a challenge, a good challenge up ahead of us."

The form of Mercedes should be helped by the introduction of a different spec of wing for this weekend, one that is more optimised for the Bahrain track.

In last week’s testing, the team used a higher downforce wing that is relevant to a wider range of tracks as part of its correlation and testing programme .

"In terms of the things that we have here we've got a wing that we're going to try, which we hope will be more suited to this circuit,” said Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"But I don't think that's going to change everything, but hopefully will push us in the right direction.

"Like everyone does, there was data to go through, we have definitely a much better understanding of where we need to put the car, where the weak points of the car are.

"Those won't be fixed right now. But the men and women back in the factory are focusing on getting there as soon as possible."

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