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
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.”