Mercedes make damning Lewis Hamilton admission

Lewis Hamilton failed to convert his pole position at the 2023 Hungarian GP into a podium.

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has admitted that the Silver Arrows “never believed” Lewis Hamilton could win last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, due to Max Verstappen’s superiority.

Hamilton shocked the paddock on Saturday at the Hungaroring after the seven-time World Champion beat Verstappen to pole position, his first since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

As a result, many saw the British driver as a potential candidate for victory; however, the Silver Arrows never saw it this way.

Mercedes believed second was possible from the race, had things gone more in Hamilton’s favour.

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Hamilton was forced wide by the reigning World Champion at the opening corner, which allowed Oscar Piastri past.

Hamilton then dropped a further place at Turn 2, as Lando Norris went around his outside.

Later in the race and Sergio Perez also sailed by the 38-year-old, who at that point was in fifth.

He managed to get Piastri back in the closing stages for fourth; however, not even getting a podium after starting on pole was seen as “disappointing” by the Brackley-based team.

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A podium was certainly possible for Hamilton based on his pace at the end of the race, by at which point he was one of the fastest drivers on the track.

The W14 looked sluggish though on a high-fuel load, and considerably slower than Red Bull and McLaren.

Shovlin admits the side knew they didn’t have the “pace” to match or even beat Verstappen, but that second was definitely possible.

“Starting from P1 and not even making the podium is always going to be disappointing,” Shovlin explained after the Hungarian GP, as reported by

“We never believed we had the pace to beat Verstappen, but we could have been second had more gone our way.

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“The opening lap wasn’t great for Lewis, dropping to fourth, but as the race went on our pace seemed to get better.

“At one point it looked like we’d be a distant fourth, but he did a good job closing Perez and Lando Norris down in the final stint.

“It was frustrating that we couldn’t get on the back of them sooner.”