Despite the fact Lewis Hamilton was disqualified, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has labelled the United States Grand Prix as the side’s best performance of 2023, as their speed was “genuine”.
Roll back the clock to the end of the October and the Silver Arrows arrived at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) full of hope, as they’d installed a new upgrades package.
To their joy, and relief, the package worked extremely well, to the point that Hamilton was a real contender for victory.
The seven-time World Champion ultimately fell just short of the win after failing to catch Max Verstappen quickly enough.
Had there been an additional lap, then Hamilton would’ve likely overtaken the three-time World Champion.
However, even if Hamilton had won the race, it would’ve been for nothing, as he was disqualified afterwards for his car being too low.
Hamilton lost second place as a result and 18 points, something which thankfully didn’t impact his or Mercedes’ position in the standings come the conclusion of the season.
Whilst it seems odd that Wolff would label a weekend where Hamilton was disqualified as the team’s best of the year, it actually makes complete sense.
The Silver Arrows arguably had the quickest car at the COTA, a feat they couldn’t say at any other round in 2023.
Mercedes just seemed to unlock some real performance that weekend in Austin, Texas, with the positive data gathered perhaps set to be used in the development of their new concept for 2024.
After introducing so many upgrades in 2023 which offered little improvement, it was a joyful moment for the Brackley-based side to finally see a new part work so well.
“This might sound strange because we got disqualified, but Austin!” Wolff revealed to Speedcafe.
“We brought an upgrade package that worked, the car was performing well, and we were hunting down the leader. You could say, ‘Well, you were disqualified for a car that was too low’, but the genuine performance was there and that was an enjoyable weekend.
“I’ve always said that I’d rather have a fast car that we haven’t tuned in the right way. And obviously, you need to finish.
“But that was the best weekend overall, seeing that the correlation between the wind tunnel and the track was good.”