Hamilton says Mercedes need an upgrade to fight Red Bull after Styrian GP defeat

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton urged his Mercedes team to find more performance from their car after Max Verstappen beat him to victory in the Styrian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver fell over 15 seconds behind his rival by the latter stages of the race. He finished 35 seconds adrift after making an extra pit stop in order to fit fresh tyres and score the bonus point for fastest lap.

Having spent the entire afternoon in second place, Hamilton described his race as a “lonely” affair.

“I was trying to keep up with those guys but the speed they have, they’ve obviously made some big improvements over the last couple of the races and are impossible to keep up,” said Hamilton.

“I don’t know where we lose all the time but I think the long runs seem to be a bit better, they seem to be able to continue pulling out those laps.

“Obviously on the straights we lose a lot, or it feels like we lose a lot, down the straights. But nonetheless we got good point as a team today and we’ve just got to keep pushing.”

Following the French Grand Prix, Red Bull rejected Hamilton’s claim the team had introduced a performance upgrade to its engine. The Mercedes driver again suggested their rivals had made gains in that area having brought a new engine at the previous race.

“Naturally they’re faster so there’s not a lot that I can do in that respect, just got to keep trying to do the best that I can each weekend,” he said.

“We need to find some performance, we need an upgrade of some sort, we need to push. I don’t know where, whether it’s just the rear wing or whether it’s the upgrade on the engine, whatever it may be. But we’ve got to find some performance.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Styrian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

64 comments on “Hamilton says Mercedes need an upgrade to fight Red Bull after Styrian GP defeat”

  1. But don’t go upgrading your engine! You know better than anyone the rules on that.
    How about a skinnier wing for more straight line speed?

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      27th June 2021, 16:12

      Preferably one that flexes :^)

      1. They are already under investigation for that @barryfromdownunder

      2. Red Bull is indeed doing a big flex.

  2. ”Bono, help me, lost my magic tricks book!”

  3. He needa to step up. Lost the touch after monaco. Bottas is even faster than lewis in many occasions. Thats something that never was so much before. “We still rise”… well make sure you dont slide down then?

    1. It’s “Still I Rise.” It’s an inspiring piece of poetry and I recommend it.

      1. ian dearing
        27th June 2021, 16:41

        They wouldn’t understand it. If they did they wouldn’t be doing what they do surely?

      2. @dmw
        To be a pedant, the poem is called ‘And Still I Rise’. It’s good though I agree.

      3. It’s “Still I Rise.”

        The wording on the back of Lewis’s helmet is “Still We Rise”.

    2. when was Bottas faster? take a look at the points table..

      1. @nickthegreek If you had watched the race now, you’d know Bottas outqualified Hamilton. Hamilton just got lucky again to start on the front row.

        1. Hehehehe god I love you Balue! 🤣

          1. It’s absolutely true, keep in mind bottas is relatively strong in austria and outqualified hamilton, having said this, hamilton’s pace was better in the race at least in this case. How about monaco? Completely outclassed, points don’t tell the whole story.

      2. Bottas was faster in qualifying, for example @nichthegreek.

    3. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      27th June 2021, 16:46

      Bottas is faster on many occasions? Are we watching the same races?

    4. Many occasions? This is the kind of rubbish that has turned this site’s comments section into a real cesspool.

      1. Well in qualifying for this race, in qualifying in Monaco and in the race in Monaco to give 3 examples.

        1. Out of how many sessions?

    5. 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 👍

  4. Mercedes… please take some of the voice from the drivers. Does anyone believe that next years regulations are so big that a backfoot start will guarantee that you could be in real trouble? As I said on another thread, at this point, Mercedes can no longer rely on Hamilton and Bottas’ driving ability.

    1. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
      27th June 2021, 16:07

      @krichelle wow you made no sense whatsoever with that comment.

    2. Essentially Lewis is saying that he cant beat Max if he doesn’t have the fastest car. this puts pay to all the past comments around Lewis being the difference between Merc and the rest. The truth is now out for everyone to see and basically admitted by Lewis making these comments, No matter how good a driver is (And Lewis is damn good) you can’t win if the other driver/car combination is faster and definitely not if the other car is faster. Lewis is an awesome driver, but has benefited massively from being in the right car at the right time.
      F1 is actually a Manufacturers Championship after all. Manufacturers are NOT there for the Drivers, drivers are there for the Manufacturers.

  5. Cristiano Ferreira
    27th June 2021, 16:05


  6. They need a shorter wheelbase and higher rake upgrade package.

    1. @dmw They can do these design philosophy changes for next season.

      1. Yes I was being a bit tongue in cheek. It’s too late for that now. Their philosophy has worked well for a long time but I think Newey is being vindicated here, though aided a bit by rules development.

        1. @dmw

          aided a bit

          A bit as in ‘totally’. Mercedes were 15 seconds ahead in Austria last time, now 15 seconds behind. So, relatively, around half a second taken away by the regulation changes. And at the same time little leeway to adapt because of the tokens. Red Bull were gifted this lead. Fair enough? Maybe. On the basis that one team dominance isn’t good for anyone and Mercedes do have the resources to make a come back. Only not this year, as you’ve pointed out. Does that vindicate Newey? He’s a genius designer, but hobbling the rival team isn’t really proof he was right about overall design philosophy. Mercedes had theirs working fine.

          1. @david-br
            Fair enough that the rules changes have hurt Mercedes more than the others.
            But I think it’s been said many times on this site and others that the notion that these changes were pre-planned to target Mercedes is fantasy, which is implied by your comment. There was in fact quite a debate whether the changes would hurt low or high rake cars more, or be agnostic towards rake.

          2. I’m not implying anything, I’m stating a fact that the changes introduced were more prejudicial to low rake cars, as we know. Whether the intention was for the regulations to affect low and high rake cars equally or unequally, I don’t know. My point is simply that you can’t say a high rake design philosopher has been vindicated in such a circumstance. I do think there is something inherently unfair in making such changes and preventing a team (or two teams, Mercedes and Aston Martin)( from radically altering their design in response. but I realize the situation was exceptional this year.

  7. If no upgrade.. then atleast create some controversies like, honda engine update, RB front flexi wing..

    1. Mercedes is the one with the flex front wing….

  8. petebaldwin (@)
    27th June 2021, 16:11

    Interesting listening to Toto on Sky – he basically said “we’ll look back in 5 or 10 years and we’ll see if this was a good decision or not.” It sounds like they’ve up on this year in terms of development to try and dominate the next era. We’ll see next year what effect this fight has had on Red Bull.

    1. This decision is absolutely crucial. We don’t know the split of each team between the two seasons, but it’s possible that Mercedes is focusing on the next chapter. As you point out, Toto’s comment seems to indicate that. I’ve heard somewhere that RB were scared in 2013 and doubled down on that year’s championship only to find themselves on the back foot in 2014.

      1. @petebaldwin @j-l Couple thoughts on that though. I think personally that while a team seems to have a strong chance for the Championships, they have to focus on that, for the future is an unknown and you just have to hope for the best. I think in 2013 of course RBR were focused on that season and from what I understand it was Renault that was just as focused on that year as RBR were, and thus they suffered with their hybrid pu.

        I think there is a big difference now and I don’t fear that Mercedes are going to get that much of a head start on RBR and dominate the new chapter. Several things are different. The pu’s are frozen so unlike 2013 to 2014 there shouldn’t be anyone with much of a pu advantage. The cars are more restricted in innovation going hand in hand with the budget caps. As well, the new chapter of F1 is simply designed to have the teams closer and the cars racing closer.

        So I think we have seen the last of the ultra dominant runs of one team, and rather it is going to be closer battles amongst teams and amongst drivers. So wrt how much Mercedes is or isn’t developing this year over next, I doubt that RBR are harming themselves very much at all if indeed they are focusing more on this year than Mercedes are.

        If RBR’s strength holds on and they really look to have a strangle hold on this season, which remains to be seen, then Mercedes may back off worrying about this year’s car, but then RBR can also back off a bit too. If Mercedes finds a few things and closes the battle this season, then they have to keep the pressure up as will RBR have to stay on their toes.

        Bottom line for me I think both teams are having to focus on this season quite equally and both are capable of making great cars for the new chapter without either one having a big advantage over the other, on paper of course, barring someone doing something really interesting and effective. But really, RBR have no choice but to secure this Championship while it is at hand anyway. And do their utmost for next year too. They have to be pleased with the pu they’ll have for starters.

        1. Yeah I agree with your write-up. It’s an incredibly difficult territory for the teams to navigate, especially with the newly introduced cap.

          But I have to say I was wrong, I thought Mercedes would retain the race pace advantage on classic tracks, but it seems that RB has been catching up and was actually faster today. To me, this trajectory seems to indicate that RB is focusing on this season more than Mercedes.

          1. Yes, me too, this is the first time imo that red bull had a race pace advantage on a classic track this year.

    2. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      27th June 2021, 17:12

      Sacrificing a championship to win another half dozen. Really wanted them to hit the record with 8 doubles. Seems unlikely now.

      1. i actually thought they would go for the record 8, just to have bragging rights

      2. @asleepatthewheel Doubt they’re going to win another half dozen just like that.

    3. That’s really interesting take. What do you think the decision he was he referring to, @petebaldwin? Accepting cost cap or engine freeze?

  9. Cristiano Ferreira
    27th June 2021, 16:12

    Finally this guy says something that is not utterly crap.

    It’s better to admit that his car and team needs upgrades, instead of making accusations against Red Bull.

    1. He’s doing both

    2. ian dearing
      27th June 2021, 17:49

      Why shouldn’t he question RB? RB have been questioning the Merc for 7 years, plus a whole host of other teams. McLaren questioned the RB pit stops. RB questioning the Ferrari engine whilst stating that Hamilton shouldn’t have the right to question the very same Ferrari engine. Horner arguing that teams should not be allowed to question their front wing. No different to what every team has been doing over the last 70 years. And all the more reason to question now if the new FIA directives are going to cost your opponents more to put right compared to you.

    3. @Cristiano Ferreira

      Now we’re all waiting for your turn to say something worth.

      Go on, give it a try.

  10. RandomMallard (@)
    27th June 2021, 16:21

    Like, come on the FIA? It’s clear that Red Bull’s matte paint scheme is giving them an extra 0.5 seconds a lap and is clearly illegal as it is too thick and makes the bodywork illegal. Come on we need a new paint formula mandated that means it has to contain a certain amount of metallic pigment.

    Mercedes 2021 (probably)

  11. You, sir, need an upgrade; MIA won’t do it for you

    1. It will, in the form of new Pirelli from silverstone

  12. So mercs r focussed on next yr and not this. Sounds like they willing to sacrifice this yr to dominate the next few yrs. I guess its 1 step back to take 2 steps forward..

    1. Doesn’t make sense. Giving up 2021 also would free up RBR to move on to next year. Unless they think they have something for the 2022 car that others might overlook.

      Also, sorry, I fat fingered the ‘report a comment’ button

      1. ian dearing
        27th June 2021, 17:53

        TBF its made sense up until this race. Its been nip and tuck between the teams up til now.

  13. I can’t see it happening, Red Bull are dominant now at all kinds of tracks, the Honda engine looks the same or even better, and their car probably has more leeway to improve than the edgy Mercedes. Lewis is in for a frustrating year.

    1. Disagree, I only saw them being dominant on street tracks (which are over) and austria, there’s a lot of tracks where not only they didn’t look dominant, but not even fastest in the race.

  14. Toto said to DAZN that 2021 car development is done. They’re on “2022 mode”.

    1. If so, sounds sensible. There’s little point wasting time and resources playing catch up with a basically flawed car design (thanks to the 2021 regulations) when Red Bull could probably improve theirs and fend off any challenge now with far less effort.

      1. but merc had ample time last year since hungary if im not mistaken. where they stopped upgrading their car so how did they get it so wrong this year.

        1. Got it so wrong? I think a sense of perspective is required here – they may be behind Red Bull but what is the gap between them and the rest of the field? Let’s give Red Bull their due – they got it “so right”.

    2. Just bad losers. No way they gonna give up on 2021 already. Only looking for excuses. The only reason they are not leading the championship, is because of their drivers.

      1. Please explain ur last part of ur statement that its only because of the drivers. The mercs r clearly slower.

        1. Hamilton lost 25 points in Baku. Bottas lost the rest of Mercs points.

        2. At selected tracks the merc are slower. It’s a long season just enjoy it :)

  15. Shortly he wants his dominant mercedes days back.

  16. Too bad Mercedes finally ran out of all that extra power they have been concealing for the last 7 years. It’s hard for me to be sorry for them

    1. It’s hard for me to be sorry for them

      Don’t think they need your sympathy tbh.

Comments are closed.