‘No one knew what the problem was’ - Hamilton details Mercedes 2023 struggles

Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has detailed why Mercedes struggled at the start of 2023 - and why his personal frustration boiled over.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid. Formula 1 World…

Even though Mercedes struggled in 2022 - the first year of these technical regulations - they retained a similar car philosophy for F1 2023, maintaining the same ‘zero-pod’ design.

In hindsight it seems Mercedes were fooled by their late-season form in 2022, winning in Brazil and challenging in USA and Mexico.

They started the year on the backfoot, dropping behind Aston Martin, and remaining behind Red Bull and Ferrari.

This led to Hamilton voicing his frustration after the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, where he claimed that Mercedes hadn’t listened to his feedback over the winter.

In an interview with the BBC, Hamilton reiterated that viewpoint before revealing why it was so ‘frustrating’ for the team earlier in the year.

"I remember it feeling exactly the same. And that definitely was not a great feeling. I really had high hopes,” Hamilton said. "In February, when we do a download of where the car is going, I was a little more apprehensive, because the previous year it was like: 'The car is amazing, it's unique, no-one's going to have anything like it.' And then we get to the first test…

"So, I was a little bit more cautious when I was listening, and I was like: 'We will see.' And then the car had all these problems. I just knew it was going to be a long year. I'm sure there were frustrations, because I had asked for certain changes, and they weren't done."

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

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Hamilton conceded that 2023 was made easier by the fact the previous season was just as difficult, leading to a positive mindset.

"Having the experience of the previous year, I just applied myself, in terms of digging down, sitting with the guys. We were having much better meetings,” he added.

"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.

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