Hamilton: Difficult to accept time taken for Mercedes' upgrades

Lewis Hamilton has admitted that it is "difficult" to accept the time it has taken Mercedes to introduce their Red Bull-inspired Formula 1 upgrades.

After keeping their 'zero sidepod' approach into the 2023 season, Mercedes quickly committed to ditching it in Bahrain, but were forced to wait until Monaco to introduce the vast new upgrade.

Originally planned for Imola, the W14 now has more conventional sidepods and front suspension, with Hamilton qualifying the car sixth fastest for the race, despite a crash at Mirabeau in FP3.

But the seven-time champion has admitted that watching Red Bull dominate with their package has not been easy.

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Difficult to accept time taken

"For sure, it is definitely difficult when you see the proof of concept working," Hamilton said when asked by RacingNews365 if he was surprised by the fact it has taken Mercedes over a year to abandon their unique concept and adopt a more conventional one.

"But it's not as easy as just changing it. You saw last year, Aston changed the sidepods and they didn't go too fast, it took a whole heap of work over the winter.

"But the fact is, we are now more in that direction, but still the flow, the airflow that they have, how they control the wake and everything is still a bit different to us.

"There is work that we need to do to in order to be able to use a smaller [rear] wing than they have, we are still not as efficient, they still have less drag, still have more downforce pretty much everywhere, so we've got a lot of work to do to catch up."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Hamilton's gamble

As for qualifying in Monte Carlo itself, Hamilton admitted that he had prioritised the race, going against a team decision.

"The team did a really great job in bringing these upgrades, you could really feel it straight away, particularly at the front of the car, but in the middle sector is where we're losing out, so I had to make some changes," he said.

"I made a change into qualifying which made it harder for us in the last sector, but you can't always have your cake and eat it, but I struggled to get temperature into the tyres.

"We've been trying something for the weekend, and there was some uncertainty with it.

"We went back halfway on [George Russell's] car, but I went the full way on mine.

"I was like: 'Take it off, take it off,' and the team were like: 'No, no, keep it, we should keep it.' I was certain of it and so I said if I'm wrong, then I'll put my hands up.

"At the end it was ok, for a single lap it was worse, but for the race it should be better."


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