The seven-time world champion endured his worst start to a season since 2014, finishing a distant fifth. 

2023 Mercedes W14: Can they challenge for the title?

Following Charles Leclerc’s retirement, a potential podium finish was on the cards, but Hamilton lost out to Fernando Alonso, and then couldn’t overtake Carlos Sainz.

Unlike in 2022, Mercedes struggled for race pace, particularly with the rear tyres - an area Red Bull and Aston Martin appear to have excelled in.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton revealed that he questioned Mercedes’ strategy about how long the tyres could go given their troubles with degradation.

“It generally felt the same as last year,” said Hamilton. “When we did the strategy in the morning I told the guys it wasn’t going to go as far as they said it was going to go, and it didn’t.

“We have just got a lot of work to do. We have just got to add downforce to the car, we’re lacking a lot of downforce. That is really where the time will come. As soon as we put more load on the rear and the front we’ll pick up that pace.”

Hamilton believes the result flattered Mercedes given Leclerc’s DNF, when in reality they should have finished sixth and eighth.

“We were miles away,” he said. “There was a Ferrari that would’ve been ahead of him [Alonso], so we would’ve really been sixth. So a podium was nowhere near."

He said about Aston Martin, Mercedes' customer team: “We’ve got work to do, because half of their car is ours, and they built their car in our wind tunnel, they do their aero in our wind tunnel, so we’ve got some work to do. Concerned wouldn’t be the word.There is nothing I can say, I don’t want to say too much. We’ve just got to keep working.

“We know we are not where we need to be, and we know that this isn’t the right car. It is a difficult one.

“But I’ve just got to try and stay positive, keep my head up and keep pushing the guys. Keep trying to be a positive light for them and get the best points I can.”