Lewis Hamilton spoke of the harsh reality driving his Mercedes W14, and how his team simply do not have any form of real pace and progression, in order to catch up to Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
After sensationally clinching pole position for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix by just 0.003s, in what was a shock turn of events on Saturday, Hamilton lost out to Verstappen into Turn 1, forcing him to go wide and concede further positions to both McLarens.
But Hamilton in the #44 car, only managed to secure fourth place at the checkered flag in the race, despite the car seemingly improving toward the race end.
Downbeat when the Mercedes driver spoke to the media: “I think it’s obvious that we’re not the quickest. We don’t have the quickest car but I’m really proud of myself and the job that we did to get pole position and outperform the world champion and the other two cars that were quicker than us.
“Today, it’s just reality. The reality is we’re not fast enough. They already told me at a strategy (meeting) this morning, I would be at least five-tenths slower than the Red Bull. So the fight was not with Max, but I was hoping that we could fight the McLarens. But then McLaren was too quick for us also,” the 38-year-old pointed out.
Echoing Hamilton’s sentiments, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff added: “We had the second-quickest car today, but the result doesn’t show it and that’s overall disappointing. We have got to find out how we could have done that better. You can see that George came back from a long way down, beating the Aston Martins, and beating the Ferraris. So we just need to analyse that.”
Red Bull doubled their lead in the F1 constructors’ title race over Mercedes with 11 rounds remaining
Wolff continued: “I think we were too careful in bringing the laps in. I think after the stops, we lost a lot of time, and it paid off towards the end of the stint because we were miles quicker than everybody else. But it’s always a balance and I believe the balance was a little bit too much in terms of bringing them in,” explained Wolff.
Seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton is pushing the W14 to the limit as seen in Q3 last Saturday. But has only managed one pole position since Saudi Arabia in 2021, and instantly losing that advantage into turn one at Hungary.
All harsh proof that Mercedes have a long way to go if they really want to clinch another F1 constructors or drivers championship, let alone a race win which eludes them this year. While George Russell, who went from 18th on the grid to sixth. The younger Briton holds the only victory they have scored in this new F1 era. Now in its second season.
Nevertheless, Merc sit second in the 2023 F1 constructors standings, with a total points haul of 223 thus far. Red Bull are more than double that, on 452 points. Even Verstappen alone has scored more with his 281 points tally after 11 rounds. This is how it stands: