Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton reckons that his team will taste victory this season despite a miserable start to the new era.
The Silver Arrows managed a podium through Hamilton in the opening race in Bahrain after Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both suffered reliability failures for Red Bull, but it went downhill from there.
In a bid to prevent “porpoising” and bouncing, which appeared to have hit them the hardest, they raised the ride height of Hamilton’s car in Saudi Arabia, but he had so little performance in the corners that he ended up out in Q1.
It was the first time since the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix that the seven-time champion had failed to make it into the second qualifying session, but he eventually recovered to score a point in Jeddah.
George Russell, who signed from Williams to replace Valtteri Bottas went on to finish ahead of his compatriot in all of the following six races after that having finished fourth and fifth in Bahrain and Jeddah respectively.
The 24-year-old grabbed podium finishes in Australia, Spain and Azerbaijan, but the car was still uncomfortable, performance was still missing, and the team were struggling to find a way to turn the W13 into a race winning car.
A much better performance in Canada saw Hamilton grab his second rostrum appearance of the season, and he has since added another four consecutive to his tally.
Russell has joined him on the podium in each of the last two in France and Hungary and, after Hamilton looked like he might have the pace to win in Britain, and Russell took pole in Budapest, there is a renewed sense of optimism at Brackley.
They are not quite back to winning ways yet, but Hamilton senses they are close.
“I honestly think there is potential to win races, and I’m hoping that they find something that just brings us that little bit of extra downforce without bouncing,” he told Heikki Kovalainen in a discussion aired by Viaplay.
“[That’s] been tough for the team to achieve, but no one’s given up on it.
“There’s a lot of pride in everyone’s work as it should be, but I really do hope by the end of the year, we’re able to get a win, I truly believe we will get a win this year.
“One win is not enough for us in terms of what we work for, but it will hopefully be in good stead for next year.
“I think right now when I’m talking to the team, I’m like, ‘hey, this is what I don’t want next year and this is what I need next year and in this car’.
“And so, I’m trying to help steer them to make sure that they provide us with that next year.”
Mercedes came into the season with one of the more unique designs that featured almost non-existent sidepods.
While they are determined to make this philosophy work instead of starting all over again with something new, Hamilton understands that they cannot keep banging their heads against a wall trying to get something to work that is simply not as good as what Ferrari and Red Bull have made.
“I think, fundamentally, we have to acknowledge that the others have done a better job, and whichever kind of philosophy they’ve taken has worked well for them,” he explained.
“We have to be conscious of that moving forward, we can’t be stubborn and say, ‘no, our way is definitely the way and it will eventually work’.
“Because we could wait for years for that, and we have to be quick, we have to be concise, we have to be humble in our approach, which I think we will be.
“That’s the conversations in the background.”
Hamilton and Russell have now scored 11 podium finishes between them, and the removal of moving skid blocks ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix could prove pivotal in turning some of those podiums into wins.