Lewis Hamilton gave a stark assessment of the Mercedes car after a catastrophic 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix weekend where he finished 63 seconds behind Max Verstappen and the team was even less competitive than Alpine.
Mercedes brought a newly upgraded floor to the Formula 1 Americas triple-header and it appeared to have worked wonders as Hamilton finished second at both the United States and Mexico City GPs – though he was later disqualified in Austin.
Such success inspired team principal Toto Wolff to hint Mercedes could challenge Red Bull and Verstappen at Interlagos but that confidence could scarcely have been more misplaced, as Hamilton finished eighth and George Russell retired.
“The tyres are always overheating for us, slow on the straights, no grip in the corners,” Hamilton told the media. “My guess is that the floor’s not working so that pushed us to go to high on the wing, which was massively draggy in the straights.
“And I was just losing so much on the straights, there’s nothing I can do about it, and then we’re just sliding through the corners. So we’ll have to look into why that is the case.”
Hamilton: Ultimately the car didn’t work
Russell admitted Mercedes were a sitting duck in a straight line at Interlagos after the team gambled on a higher-downforce setup but failed to reap any of those rewards through the corners on a dismal afternoon for the team.
Mercedes‘ only hope is these issues are Sao Paulo-specific, similar to Red Bull‘s Singapore struggles where they finished fifth and eighth – the only race they’ve failed to win all season.
“It’s hard to say,” Hamilton added, when asked if Mercedes’ issues were track-specific. “In the moment it is a setback but as a team, we’ll just come together and we’ll try and push forwards.
“There’ll be a lot of analysis this week after today and I’m sure there’ll be things where we’re like ‘ah, maybe if we’d have done this it would have been better’. But I think still ultimately the car didn’t work for some reason and that’s the way it is”