Advertisement

Lewis Hamilton reveals frustration at F1 season: ‘I asked Mercedes for changes and they weren’t done’

Lewis Hamilton reveals frustration at F1 season: ‘I asked Mercedes for changes and they weren’t done’

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that Mercedes did not make changes to their car that the seven-time world champion asked for ahead of the 2023 season.

Hamilton again endured a frustrating campaign as his search for a record eighth title continues, with the 38-year-old now without a race win in more than two years.

While the British driver fought back from a slow start to finish an eventual third in the Drivers’ Championship standings, Mercedes were largely unable to challenge Red Bull’s dominance at the top.

It followed an uneven year in 2022 that saw the team plagued with problems, and Hamilton has now confirmed that his request that changes be made to their vehicle ahead of this year’s campaign was ignored.

Problems were evident from the very first grand prix of the season in Bahrain, with Hamilton revealing that he had to have “big, big talks” with Mercedes after the race.

“I’m sure there were frustrations, because I had asked for certain changes, and they weren’t done,” Hamilton recalled in an interview with the BBC.

Lewis Hamilton’s frustrations with Mercedes’ car failed to prompt changes (Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton’s frustrations with Mercedes’ car failed to prompt changes (Getty Images)

“No-one knew exactly what the problem was. No-one knew how to fix it.

“Having the experience of the previous year [2022], I just applied myself, in terms of digging down, sitting with the guys. We were having much better meetings.

“I was able to stay a lot more positive during the year and be like: ‘It’s going to be a long season, but let’s not give up. Let’s keep pushing towards getting the maximum out of the car, whatever that may be.’

“I think for this year they thought: ‘The fundamentals are good and we just have to go here.’ And it was not the case. That’s why I was frustrated in February, because they hadn’t made the changes I’d asked for.”

Hamilton secured pole position only once across the 2023 season.

A third consecutive world title was secured by Max Verstappen, who has been clear at the top ever since pipping the Brit to a maiden crown in Abu Dhabi in 2021.

The Dutchman ascended to a new level of ascendancy over the rest of the field this season, recording 19 wins in 22 races, including ten consecutive victories between the Miami Grand Prix and Italian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen secured a third consecutive world title in 2023 (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen secured a third consecutive world title in 2023 (Getty Images)

But Hamilton does not believe that Verstappen even had to work that hard for his title.

“You can go through the lap times and some of the data from Max; he is just chilling at the front more often than not,” Hamilton said of his old rival. “I don’t think he has broken a sweat during the year.

“Even when we were chasing him in Austin, I don’t think he was sweating. I think he was just able to control it. And when you are in that position where you have performance and can back off, the car goes further. The tyres go longer and you are in a sweet spot and it is amazing to be in that place.

“Ultimately, [Red Bull] have done an amazing job and worked and deserve it.”