Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Mercedes didn’t expect best result of season so far in Spain – Hamilton

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes’ strongest result of the season so far, in the second race after their introduced a major upgrade for their car, was an unexpected success for the team.

Hamilton passed Lando Norris at the start of the race, then overtook Carlos Sainz Jnr to move into second place where he eventually finished. His team mate George Russell rose from 12th on the grid to join him on the podium in third.

Mercedes’ 33-points from their double podium finish is their most from a grand prix so far in 2023. It moved them up to second in the constructors’ championship, ahead of Aston Martin.

Hamilton credited his team’s factory for the performance following the recent changes to their car. “We definitely didn’t expect to have the result we had today,” he said Hamilton after the race. “So I just really wanted to take my hat off to my team.

“A big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory for continuing to push and bring us a little bit closer to the Bulls. They’re still a bit ahead, but we’ll keep chasing them down. But this is an amazing result. George did a great job today as well.”

Max Verstappen won the race from pole position, just over 24 seconds ahead of Hamilton in second. Hamilton said Red Bull remain “a little bit too quick at the moment, but we’re working at it.

“Just one step at a time,” he continued. “If we could get close by the end of the year, that would be awesome. But if not, next year.”

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Hamilton’s team mate Russell also admitted he was surprised to have taken a podium after starting outside of the top ten.

Race start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Spanish Grand Prix in pictures
“Kudos to the team for giving me a really great car today,” he said. “That was a fun race for us, starting from P12 and coming all the way to P3 – a sign of things to come hopefully for us and the team.”

Russell said that after two weekends with the upgraded W14, he can tell that the Mercedes has improved from where it used to be.

“It definitely feels better,” he said. “You’re just putting in those lap times and you compare them with the guys around you – with the Astons and the Ferraris – and we were just quicker and quicker and quicker.

“We know we’ve brought some more downforce to the car, we know things were in a better window. So really pleased with having a podium.”

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    8 comments on “Mercedes didn’t expect best result of season so far in Spain – Hamilton”

    1. Good result in first real outing of the new car – interesting to see how fast they can develop over coming races plus they now have huge amount of data to work with. Not sure about Russell he’s too vocal on the radio and whines / complains a lot when he just needs to get his head down and drive

      1. When asked about the new pods, he said on Sky, its not just about the side pods, its he floor too, [or words to that effect] suggesting Mercedes have also upgraded their floor.

      2. Sadly, this isn´t about the updates. On this track last year Mercedes was looking like a genuine threat to Red Bull – Russel engaged in short battle with Verstappen and Hamilton fighting his way to P5 after being dead last on the end of the first lap.

        This year they were no where near Red Bull.

        One positive thing that Mercedes can take away from this race is the poor performance of Ferrari (who were in the mix here last year) and especially of Aston Martin.

        1. Exactly, last year they were strong in Barcelona as well. So I’d take this result with a pinch of salt. Also others dropped the ball. Next couple of races will show true picture, which should be more in line with Monaco results. Of course, their showing in Monaco wasn’t bad, it was obvious they improved, but not by as much as it seemed in this race. They will be scraping with the Astons, but should prevail this year with ease.

      3. Merc have probably had to bring the most in the way of upgrades of ay team on the grid, I wonder if this amount of change/investment is going to restrict them later? i.e., is it pushing them into cost cap space.

    2. i’m assuming Mercedes have not fitted their interpetation of the ‘redbull floor’. I can see things improving dramatically over the next month. That said, the rest of the field will be thinking the same.

      1. The upgraded floor is coming in silverstone

      2. The problem for the rest of the field is that they’ve really just been paddling in the same place, Aston Martin and Ferrari in particular, while Mercedes stuck with their W13b-spec until Monaco – or, effectively, this race. On that trend, Mercedes seem better placed to make improvements. Mercedes are generally strong at these faster-corner tracks (and Barcelona became faster still) while Hamilton has won multiple times at the circuit, no surprise he was stronger than Russell. A few more races to really tell, I guess, but then again they can’t have had time to really study and tweak the updates yet.

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