Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton continues to be afflicted by issues concerning the W14.
Before the Monaco Grand Prix, two revamped Mercedes took to the street of the Circuit de Monaco and produced a 4-5 finish, with Hamilton bettering teammate George Russell.
Toto Wolff and co understood the Monaco Grand Prix would be a difficult race to understand how impactful their improvements had been.
The upgrades introduced aimed to improve the aerodynamics of the W14 in a move that included a new floor and sidepods.
As predicted by the team, both Russell and Hamilton were able to capitalise on the upgrade package at the Spanish Grand Prix.
It was the first Mercedes double podium since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2022 – Hamilton equalled his best finish of the season as he came runner-up to Verstappen, and Russell finished strongly in third.
Hamilton insists there has been an improvement on the car but remains wary of the long road ahead if they are to compete with Red Bull.
“The new suspension was a real positive for me,” Hamilton said.
“It gave me a lot more confidence [in Monaco and Barcelona] so I’m hoping that translates to [future races].
“I think we’ve taken note of where we are and where we’ve gone wrong, and now we’re slowly chipping away and trying to navigate our way back to the front. It’s just a long process, unfortunately.
“We now have the wider side-pods more in the direction of what the Red Bull is.
“I mean it’s not been my decision to go that way. It’s the input that we’ve been having as a team, both George and I, over the past year,
“It’s those constant conversations where we’re like, ‘Why does that look like that?’ and ‘Why does this look like this, have you tried that?’
“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.
“We still have generally a very strong front and not as good a rear as we would hope to have.”
Mercedes a mile off Red Bull
Hamilton’s words suggest it could be some wait until Mercedes are on par with Red Bull and it’s clear to see there has been a huge disparity in speed throughout the season.
Although the Spanish Grand Prix was a major improvement, Hamilton finished the race 24 seconds behind Verstappen.
Discomfort is a factor in this, and the Briton has been vocal about his distaste regarding the seating position of the car.
“If you look at the past, I’ve always enjoyed an oversteering car,
“[But] we sit closer to the front wheels than all the other drivers. 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 centred.”
Whatever the issues are, Hamilton and Mercedes will not be satisfied until they match the pace of Red Bull.
The upcoming Canadian Grand Prix will serve as another stepping stone in Mercedes’ quest to return to the top.