Lewis Hamilton admits he might never be happy with Mercedes

Despite recent updates, Lewis Hamilton remains dissatisfied with the cockpit positioning in Mercedes' W14 car design, questioning its impact on performance.

Lewis Hamilton has expressed his reservations about the effectiveness of Mercedes’ program of updates for their W14 car. 

Despite the introduction of a major package of changes during the Monaco Grand Prix, followed by a proper evaluation in Barcelona, Hamilton believes these updates fall short of resolving his ongoing complaints regarding the cockpit positioning in this year’s car design.

Acknowledging the team’s notable achievements in Monaco, where Hamilton finished second to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and was joined on the podium by his teammate George Russell, the British driver admitted that the recent changes did little to alleviate his concerns expressed earlier in the season, prior to the Australian Grand Prix. 

Hamilton highlighted the uncomfortable feeling of sitting closer to the front wheels than his fellow drivers, which he believes negatively impacts his ability to predict and control the car’s behavior.

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“We sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers,” he explained earlier in the season.

“You feel like you’re sitting on the front wheels which is one of the worst feelings to feel when you’re driving a car.

“It makes it harder to predict compared to when you’re further back and sitting more centered.”

Despite voicing his concerns, Hamilton conceded that there is little that can be done about the issue, as the current design limits the available options for improving the cockpit positioning. He likened the 2023 car to its predecessor, observing a resemblance in their characteristics, albeit with a better aesthetic appearance.

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“There’s nothing you can do about it, that’s just the way it is,” he said last week when asked for an update about the current situation with the cockpit positioning problems,” he said.

“The only things you can do is ultimately try to slow the rate of rotation, stabilise the rear end.

“That’s something you try and do on mechanical balance, but you’re just limited with the tools you have.

Although the cockpit complaints persist, Hamilton did express satisfaction with the progress made by the latest upgrades, particularly in terms of the new suspension system. Having tested the updates on proper circuits like Monaco and Barcelona, Hamilton expressed hope that the improved confidence gained from these enhancements would translate into better performances in future races.

Additionally, the wider sidepods introduced in the upgrades, inspired by Red Bull’s design, were a result of collective input from Hamilton and Russell, as they continually questioned and analysed different aspects of the car. 

Hamilton noted that Red Bull’s superior rear end, which allows for earlier acceleration and higher cornering speeds, remains a significant difference between their cars.

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“If you look at the Red Bulls, the places where they get on the power earlier and the speed they can take through the corners is just because they have a much stronger rear end,” he said.

“We still have generally a very strong front and not as good a rear as we would hope to have.”

While the recent upgrades have enabled Mercedes to draw level with Ferrari and Aston Martin, they still strive to close the performance gap with Red Bull. 

With 15 races remaining in the season, the question lingers whether the current upgrades will be sufficient to challenge Red Bull’s dominance and secure victories on the top step of the podium.