Mercedes introduced their heavily-updated W14 featuring new sidepods at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, with the team finally abandoning their ‘zeropod’ after over a year. 

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Their revised sidepod design now follows a similar philosophy to the one favoured by Red Bull, who have dominated since the start of F1’s new regulation era which began in 2022. 

Asked if he was surprised it has taken Mercedes over a year to follow the same path as Red Bull, Hamilton replied: “Sure.

“I don’t know what else to say,” he added. “It definitely is difficult when you see it and you see the proof of the concept and it’s working.”

But the seven-time world champion, who will start fifth at the Monaco Grand Prix, insisted Mercedes still have a long way to go to catch Red Bull. 

“It’s not as easy as just changing it,” Hamilton explained. 

“You saw that last year the Aston just changed the sidepods and they didn’t go faster. It took a whole heap of work over the winter.

“The fact is we are more in that direction. But still, the airflow that they have, how they control their wake and everything is still a little bit different to ours.

“I think there’s work we need to do in order to be able to use a smaller wing [like] they have. 

“We’re still not as efficient, they still have less drag, they still have more downforce pretty much everywhere. And so we’ve got a lot of work to catch up.”