Lewis Hamilton has said that he is still working to get to grips with the Mercedes W14 after a “difficult” three days of testing in Bahrain ahead of the 2023 F1 season.
While Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted the team is holding back the full potential of its 2023 car, both Hamilton and teammate George Russell have tempered any expectations of a swift return to the front of the grid.
The Brackley-based outfit struggled with several issues throughout the three-day testing session ahead of the 2023 season opening Bahrain GP next week, but Hamilton said there were reasons to be more confident as the team work to improve their setup.
“I think it’s difficult to sum it up. I think we’ve had a couple of difficult days,” Hamilton said at a press conference.
“And yesterday particularly was difficult, the first day didn’t feel too bad. Yesterday was a little bit more of a struggle.
“I think George has had a much better morning today, a bit like the first day…So hopefully, we’ve got this set up in a bit of a better place.”
The Brit did highlight that the porpoising issues which dogged the team throughout the first half of the 2023 seasons were firmly behind them, with no such issues emerging during testing.
“Right now, for example, the bouncing that we had has pretty much gone. So that’s a huge step for us,” he said.
“It’s nice to try it without the bouncing once, but there are still some underlying things that we’re working through.”
Hamilton added that the short window of testing was challenging, but that the team were working towards getting out of the blocks quickly for the first race in Bahrain as they seek to regain their spot at the top of the grid.
“Difficult to know, it’s going to be tough, I think for everyone, this short period of testing,” he said.
“When I first started, we had a lot more testing. So for anybody that’s coming in, a day and a half is definitely not a lot of running.
“But these are all professionals. And so, we’ll do the best job we can. I think we’re trying to make sure we hit the ground running in understanding the car and the tires to the best of our ability during this time.”