Hamilton highlights ‘huge plus’ for Mercedes from testing

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has opened up about his expectations for Mercedes going into the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton pinpointed Mercedes‘ biggest reason for optimism heading into the 2023 Formula 1 season after an optimistic pre-season testing for the Black Arrows.

Twelve months ago, Mercedes discovered massive porpoising issues with the car that hampered them throughout the 2022 season and ended their run of 15 championships in 16 years.

And though they appear to be behind at least Red Bull and Ferrari heading into the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton said there was one key factor that meant they’re still in contention for the title.

“Not having a balancing issue it’s a huge, huge plus,” Hamilton told the media.

“Staying focused, trying to understand what the problem is, whilst having balancing issues makes it difficult to figure out what those are so we don’t have that now and now we can focus on just pure performance.”

2022 was the first season in Hamilton‘s F1 career that he failed to win a race, and there had been rumours that he could retire from the sport if 2023 was similarly fruitless.

However, he rubbished that speculation and appears as committed as ever to getting Mercedes back to the top of F1.

Hamilton: It’s still a multi-championship-winning group

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell hugging after the Sprint Race at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell after F1 Sprint Race at the 2022 Brazilian GP | Mercedes F1 Team

Hamilton also reiterated that Mercedes are capable of getting back in the game thanks to the backbone of personnel that brought them so much championship success.

Despite starting 2022 with a car that struggled to reach Q3 on occasion and was borderline unsafe for the drivers, they ended the season with a race win, pole position and in contention for second place in the constructors’ championship up until the final weekend of the season.

A part of that success was down to Hamilton sacrificing short-term gain for longer-term development in the early part of the year, and he seemed confident Mercedes were starting 2023 in a much better position despite their deficit to the frontrunners.

“I knew from the moment I drove the car, where we were, and the challenges that they would be facing,” Hamilton added. “And I’m so encouraged to see just the focus and the courage of everyone within the team, we’re so focused on getting us back to the top.

“So we’re not where we wanted to start a season naturally. But this is still is a multi-championship-winning team, and group of people so I believe in us.”

Lewis Hamilton crests a rise at the Bahrain International Circuit | LAT Images / Mercedes F1 Team
Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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