Mercedes led the way in 2022 by introducing their innovative size-zero sidepod car design, which was tested until the Monaco Grand Prix in May. Subsequently, they made a change to the W14 model, adopting a downwash approach similar to Red Bull’s preference, but with the inclusion of a ‘waterslide’ feature inspired by McLaren and Aston Martin.
After installing the upgrade, Hamilton achieved a 2-3 outcome in the subsequent Spanish GP. However, in 2022, Mercedes also experienced a performance improvement in Barcelona as George Russell secured third place.
Since then, Hamilton has scored a brace of third places and took pole in Hungary after Max Verstappen lost time in Q3. But the ‘supertimes’ metric – which records each team’s fastest lap during a race weekend – indicates Mercedes has gone from a 0.504% (Monaco) deficit to Red Bull to 0.502% (Silverstone) and 0.866% (Spa).
However, Hamilton has expressed admiration for the significant progress achieved by the team, stating: “I have been immensely proud of each and every individual. The level of dedication and effort put in by everyone has been extraordinary.”
“We have made significant progress. The most notable achievement was reaching Monaco, and the car has shown remarkable development ever since.”
“We now possess a more comprehensive comprehension of the optimal car placement. It has displayed remarkable consistency, resulting in numerous podium finishes and top-five placements, which is truly remarkable.”
“We have consistently experienced reliable performance, which has been consistently excellent. Therefore, there are numerous positive aspects to highlight.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W14
Photo by: Erik Junius
Hamilton identified two areas where the W14 still needs improvement: downforce and balance. He mentioned the latter concern at the beginning of the season, feeling that he was not fully connected to the car due to the cockpit being positioned further forward than in the Red Bull and Ferrari cars.
Hamilton proceeded by stating, “We still need to address the equilibrium and enhance our downforce, as we consistently strive for.”
“But I am aware that everyone at the factory is fully committed to achieving that goal.”
“I am fully dedicated to achieving second place in the constructors’ championship for the team, while also striving to secure third position in the drivers’ standings.”
Hamilton is currently in fourth place in the standings. He is one point behind Fernando Alonso, who drives for Aston Martin.
The seven-time world champion added that he expected the competitive order behind Red Bull to still shuffle during the second half of the campaign.
He stated that he is unsure about the extent of people’s development in the latter half of the season, but anticipates some progress.
I am uncertain about Aston’s current situation and the reasons behind their setback. However, I believe McLaren performed exceptionally well in the later stage.
“I anticipate some changes in the rankings due to the track’s influence, as Ferrari and our team have a strong connection. I am optimistic about our chances of improvement.”