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hamilton mercedes w15 bahrain f1 testing

Hamilton: We’ve clearly made an improvement with this year’s car

hamilton mercedes w15 bahrain f1 testing

Lewis Hamilton is convinced the W15 is a step forward for his team, suggesting the Briton’s final year with the Silver Arrows could return him to his winning ways. George Russell agrees.

While that is an optimistic statement as Bahrain Testing is still ongoing aka early days, it’s fair to say the Mercedes of 2024 is better than its troubled predecessors, namely the W14 and the W13. Meaning that Hamilton, a record 103-time Grand Prix winner has not won a race since the new F1 rules kicked in back in 2022.

On Thursday evening, after day two of F1 Testing at Sakhir, in which he completed 123 laps and ended P3, during the full day he spent in the car, Hamilton reported: “We’ve clearly made an improvement with this year’s car and it’s much nicer to drive.

“A big thank you to everyone at Brackley and Brixworth for the efforts they’ve put in to deliver that over the past year. I’m really grateful for all their hard work. We’ve still got progress to make of course. But this is a good foundation for us to build on,” declared Hamilton.

The W15 is the last Mercedes F1 car Hamilton will drive before he moves to Ferrari for 2025. The current specification cars are on their penultimate year of existence before new rules kick in for 2026. Hence these very cars are likely to evolve over the next two seasons as the next-gen machines are created.

Russell: It’s definitely an improvement there’s no doubt about that

russell hamilton f1 testing mercedes bahrain

Meanwhile at Bahrain F1 Testing, in the sister Mercedes, during the press conference in Bahrain yesterday, George Russell was equally upbeat albeit wary: “It definitely is an improvement there’s no doubt about that. But you could have the worst car to drive but if it’s faster than everybody else you’ll be happy with it.

“So it was definitely pleasurable to drive. I had a good feeling within the car, but we know that all of the other teams have made a good step forward. But you could have the worst car to drive but if it’s faster than everybody else you’ll be happy with it.

“So it was definitely pleasurable to drive. I had a good feeling within the car, but we know that all of the other teams have made a good step forward. Right now it’s definitely far too early to say. We have a huge mountain to climb to catch up with what Red Bull were doing last year and how far ahead of everybody else they were.

“We need to wait and see but we have definitely got a much better platform to build upon and it’s not the diva that it was in the last two years,” revealed Russell, who spent half a day in the W15 on Wednesday, and on duty all Friday for the team.

Hamilton’s move to Ferrari next year could become awkward for Mercedes

hamilton russell mercedes f1 2023 review

Despite Hamilton’s looming move to Ferrari at the end of this season, it appears the seven-time F1 World Champion is committed to the cause of returning the German team to regular winning ways. And thus ending his two-season winless drought.

However,  as the year develops it will be no surprise if things become awkward for Hamilton, Russell and Mercedes. How involved will Lewis be in making the car go faster for George next year? What about team orders and who is number one now?

All question-inducing subplots that are likely to mushroom as the year progresses. But for now, in the Mercedes camp, it seems to be business as usual in the garage. Focussed on extracting the maximum from the W15 package.

At the opening Bahrain Grand Prix next week, Mercedes will be looking to at least score a victory, which they did not do last year. Although they did finish P2 in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ World Championship, they scored less than half the points that reigning champs Red Bull did.

Much hinges on the Mercedes W15, giving Hamilton a good send-off and establishing Russell as the team leader when Sir Lewis departs for Maranello.