Lewis Hamilton hopeful he can immediately fight Max Verstappen

Mercedes have to get through two more races until they can introduce their new concept in Imola.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is “hopeful” that Mercedes’ new concept will see the side make immediate gains on Red Bull, who have dominated the start of the 2023 F1 season.

After wrongly deciding to stick with the same concept that saw them falter last season, Mercedes have now decided that it’s time to switch things up, with the ‘zero-sidepods’ set to be axed as part of a new concept of the W14.

The new concept is expected to be introduced at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which takes place after races in Azerbaijan and Miami.

Whilst the new aerodynamic regulations have been a nightmare so far for Mercedes, Hamilton is hoping that history will repeat itself and that the Silver Arrows will be able to “quickly” improve the new design, in order to catch their rivals.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

“There’s a part of me that’s just hopeful that we find the trick and we’re straight onto the right track that’s not far away from the others,” Hamilton said.

“We’ve shown in the past that we can develop quickly, and I hope that that’s the case as the potential of the car opens up.

“The guys can go full steam ahead in that direction. I’m grateful that they are open to making a shift and not being stuck with what we have.”

As optimistic as Hamilton is trying to be, the 38-year-old is very much aware that it “could take a long time” to catch Red Bull, who have won 20 of the 25 races since the new regs were introduced.

Article continues below

He does believe, though, that the gap to the Milton Keynes-based side will decrease eventually, with Hamilton expecting the RB19’s performance to at some point “plateau”.

READ: Ferrari boss insists Red Bull can’t ‘say they have everything under control’

“I‘m aware that it could take a long time to catch a car – if you look at the Red Bull, it is just going to continue to evolve most likely,” Hamilton added. 

“Although some cars do plateau in terms of performance, when you get to some point, it can’t just keep going. But maybe it can. They’ve got a great team around them, so I’m sure they’ll continue to add downforce.

“We’ve got to make sure when we do make the change, hopefully the job isn’t too far and it’s going to take us the rest of the year for sure to potentially close that gap.”