Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes have a mountain to climb after the conclusion of the 2023 Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain, but is proud of his team’s demeanor.
Mercedes have pinned high hopes on their 2023 F1 car, the W14, with they they hope to put their frustrating 2022 season behind after struggling hopelessly with their bouncy W13.
The team seem to have sorted out the “porpoising” problems that haunted them last season, but their new car doesn’t seem to be a frontrunner, and despite Lewis Hamilton clocking the second fastest time on the final day of the test in Bahrain behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, the Briton was 0.359s behind the Mexican.
Hamilton also registered his fastest time on a tyre compound softer than the Perez used (C5 compared to C4) which means the gap will be bigger if identical tyre compounds were used.
Quoted by Sky Sports F1, Hamilton reflected on the pre-season test in Bahrain; he said: “It’s been an interesting few days, it’s never easy. There’s been a lot of discovery.
“I think the thing I’ve been most impressed with is, it’s my 11th year with the team and everyone’s turned up with the same mentality, working hard, no one’s been complacent,” he added.
“We realize that we have a mountain to climb and no one’s fussed, everyone has just kept their heads down so I’m really proud of that.”
The W14 still needs work
However, and despite eradicating the bouncing, the seven-time F1 Champion concedes Mercedes still have work to do on their W14 to make it more competitive; he said: “We’re not quite where we want to be but it’s a good platform to start from.
“It’s a much more beautiful world to be in when we’re not bouncing but we do have some pace to pick up in a straight line.
“We have some things we need to work on, it’s still not perfect and we’re still not able to match the Red Bulls, or the Ferraris, currently.
“Who knows where we’ll be next week, we’ll just try to stay positive,” the winner of a record 103 grands prix concluded.
Hamilton failed to win a race in 2022, and finished sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, which is the lowest he has ever been over his illustrious career of 16 F1 seasons.