Lewis Hamilton claims Mercedes have been sent a ‘wake-up call’

Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin have downplayed their recent performance slump as rivals impressed at Silverstone.

In a surprising turn of events at Silverstone, McLaren secured P2 and P3 on the grid in qualifying, closely trailing Max Verstappen’s dominant Red Bull. 

However, Fernando Alonso, who has been a regular presence on the podium earlier in the season, found himself in P9. 

Despite the recent dip in performance, Alonso remained optimistic and urged caution in drawing conclusions.

“We are aware that we lack performance compared to the first five races,” acknowledged Alonso. 

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“It is obvious and we can all see it. But we are working on it. The world championship is not decided by a single race. Our focus is on the long term.”

McLaren encountered difficulties at the beginning of the 2023 season but steadily introduced updates that have caught the attention of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton expressed his lack of surprise at McLaren’s pace, stating, “When you look at the car, the result becomes clear. 

“I think if you put that car next to a Red Bull, it looks very similar from the side. 

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“It’s not a blow to us, it’s just a wake-up call.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff responded to Hamilton’s remarks, highlighting that the visible appearance of the McLaren car and its resemblance to the Red Bull is only part of the story. 

“I think Lewis was referring to the fact that he thinks it seems to be a good direction,” said Wolff. 

“But that’s easier said than done. 

“Each of us has had parts in the wind tunnel that looked like the ones on the Red Bull, but they didn’t perform as well as we wanted.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who qualified P5 at Silverstone, commended McLaren’s recent progress as “amazing.” 

Red Bull’s Dr. Helmut Marko also expressed surprise at McLaren’s performance, stating, “I didn’t expect the McLarens to be so close to us. 

“We even considered not going out anymore to save tires for the race.”

Regarding Aston Martin’s decline in recent races, team ambassador Pedro de la Rosa attributed it to each team’s development schedule. 

“You can no longer change the planning you have designed for the second part of the season,” de la Rosa explained. 

“The wind tunnel hours are what they are, and in our case, they are also warning. 

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“The improvements that were planned are going to arrive a few weeks or months later than what is tested in the wind tunnel.”

Looking ahead, de la Rosa warned that the improvements for the rest of the season will gradually arrive but will also taper off. 

He emphasised that the current snapshot of performance during the summer will likely remain consistent until the end of the season.