Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2023

Hamilton admits “disappointment” at performance of Mercedes’ new front wing

2023 British Grand Prix

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Mercedes were hoping to make more gains from the updated front wing they introduced at the British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton admitted.

The team qualified only sixth and seventh for last weekend’s race. Hamilton said qualifying “was not the greatest feeling,” after lapping almost half a second slower than pole-winner Max Verstappen.

The team arrived at Silverstone hoping to rebound from a disappointing race in Austria a week earlier.

“Because we’d had a really bad race, obviously, in the previous week, and we knew we had an upgrade coming here, we were all very hopeful of the step that we were going to hopefully try to take this weekend and bring us in closer,” said Hamilton.

“To our disappointment it didn’t take us that step, unfortunately, and for us to be sixth than seventh just ultimately wasn’t a great feeling. Knowing how hard everyone’s worked, and how everyone was feeling it in the team.

“Overnight you have to turn that negative feeling into a positive, which we often do and work on our positives, which is that we had good long run pace that showed on Friday, and just get your head down.”

His hopes of fighting for a better finish in the race suffered a blow, however, when he made a poor start. “After I went down to P9 at the start, I honestly didn’t feel too good either. But I had some fun trying to come back through.”

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With some help from a fortunately-timed Safety Car, Hamilton was able to claim third in the race. “Hats off to the team for our strength on the race day,” he said. “I didn’t expect to be on the podium, so this is mega.”

Hamilton came close to claiming second place after the restart, but was resisted by Lando Norris. He heaped praise on the McLaren driver afterwards.

“He is very talented, naturally, as you can see and I think it’s great when you can have close battles like that and rely on the driver that you’re competing with to be hard but fair. There was never an element or a moment where we thought we were going to come together or anything like that.

“That’s what motor racing is all about. He wanted to hold onto second, I wanted to get that second but it wasn’t meant to be today. So we’ll just get our heads down and keep pushing and hopefully we’ll have some more battles moving forward.”

The performance of the McLaren at the end of the race was “impressive”, said Hamilton. “It was amazing to watch how good his car was in high speed [corners]. I know that we’ve got some work to do to catch up.”

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2023 British Grand Prix

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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...

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13 comments on “Hamilton admits “disappointment” at performance of Mercedes’ new front wing”

  1. As a long lasted driver he knows a update doesn’t mean he is suddenly the fastest. Setup must be first learned with those new updates. If you watch McLaren Lando has his updates already for 2 races and the team begins to understand the right setup. Even Red Bull must dial in their setup if they go wrong a other teams wins.. (Brasil 2022 for example)

    1. I agree in the sense that it can take time to dial in a setup on a new design but sometimes parts just work straight out of the box and given the simulators and the supposed improvements of correlation of design and on track performance this year I expected a big improvement out of the box.

      This week Mercedes looked no closer to Red Bull at all despite a pretty significant update which a new front wing is probably the biggest update you can bring to most cars as it sets up all the flow to the other aero on the car.

      I do hope it is just they didn’t manage to get the car in a good operating window due to the weather disrupted running and cooler temperatures. Taking things in context though they didn’t drop off the boil as bad as Aston Martin did though which does make me feel this was likely mostly issues getting the tyres working. When you look at teams that did comparatively well like McLaren, Williams and Ferrari this week, they all seem to be cars that traditionally have been harder on their tyres so perhaps the conditions allowed them to work the tyres better than other cars. Next week is the big test to see if this is a new order or merely an outlier.

      I’m hoping McLaren are back though as I’d love to see Norris fighting for wins next year.

  2. I love when 2 very talented drivers can go toe to toe for a few laps and not worry about being run off the road, or colliding because they just will not cede an inch – the true racers, those can can run mm apart and not make contact (rather than simply being fast) know that to concede a corner to gain a better exit gives you a much better chance to come back than simply bullying your way around a track and all opponents off of it.

    Landos defending was just sublime, it never looked like being anything other than a thrilling battle that the best driver/car combination on the day would win.
    There are too many drivers on the F1 grid today that simply cannot drive that way.

    1. When watching I thought Lando was pushing hard as it was quite visible in places he was crowding Hamilton to the edge of the track and over on the straights to put him on dirty tarmac but he never crossed the mark that it was unsafe or cheating. I think Hamilton probably should have just sent it but he doesn’t seem to have that in his locker anymore.

      Ultimately I think Hamilton in his head just knows his immediate target for this year is best of the rest and hence it wasn’t worth risking an accident for 3 points. I’m pretty sure his minimum target now will be beating Russell and Alonso.

      1. To be honest, I was wincing every time it looked like Lewis was going to try a move on the inside at Copse.

        1. Lewis does not dare to repeat such a dangerous stunt again and certainly not on another British driver

          1. Lewis does not dare to repeat such a dangerous stunt again and certainly not on another British driver

            Lewis wasn’t the one that turned in on his rival, if I understand what you are hinting about.
            This weekend was fine because Lando isn’t in the habit of turning in early, nor when he has someone on the outside is he in the habit of running them off the road.
            Two drivers working to the same rules and testing their skills (and relative car speed) – nerve racking for us, but probably seemed like feet apart to them.

          2. Turned in on him? You are joking right?
            Lewis was a car width away from the inside and would have shunted everyone he has ever tried to overtake on the inside at Copse with that line.
            His line was intersecting Max’ and they were both heading for the outside kerb.

          3. @osnola Let the hate flow through you

          4. Yep, gloating about sending your opponent to the hospital for a second time would look pretty bad on anybody’s résumé

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      10th July 2023, 12:26

      I think the physics of these cars is such that they simply cannot do the old late braking or turning and braking. Coupled with that the Merc isn’t performing that well with overall grip levels so you have a driver that knows he will probably fly off the road if he tried those moves of yesteryear.

      I agree like Stroll showed us all that some drivers are just stupid in the moves they make. Clearly having lost the corner the guy simply stayed off the track and then launched in at Gasly.

      1. Bit unfair on Stroll, as the layout of the corner contributes to those situations. Alonso and Kubica had a very similar moment there in 2010.

        1. Bit unfair on Stroll,

          More than a bit.
          Gasly whinged about Stroll leaving the track and gaining an advantage – so he has read at least one of the rules.
          Shame he didn’t read or remember the one about when a rival is significantly alongside, you have to leave them room on the track.
          One of those clarifications that came out of the incidents between MV and LH.
          Mind you, if Stroll stretched his memory back to Australia, he’d recall that Gasly doesn’t leave room even if it’s a teammate alongside, so there’s no hope for a rival in another team.

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