Lewis Hamilton hailed the ‘insane’ work from Mercedes in 2023 after they moved further clear in second place of the constructors’ championship, and announced the team’s goals for after the Formula 1 summer break.
Hamilton‘s 15-point haul from the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix weekend puts him just one point behind Fernando Alonso for third place in the drivers’ championship, a position the Aston Martin driver has held since the season-opener in Bahrain.
It’s a marked turnaround from Mercedes, who released a statement after that race admitting they were ‘hurt’ by their uncompetitive pace – but now look in pole position to finish 2023 as the second-best team behind Red Bull.
“I’ve been incredibly proud of everybody, everyone’s been working insanely hard,” Hamilton told the media.
“There’s lots and lots of good bits, but the balance we’ve still got to work on and we need more downforce, as we always do.
“But I know everyone back to the factory is head down and massively focused on getting second for constructors, keeping that and trying to get third.”
Hamilton: Monaco upgrades ‘biggest’ step of 2023
Hamilton‘s only 40 points off Sergio Perez for second in the F1 drivers’ championship entering the summer break despite the complete dominance of the Red Bull car that’s won every single race of 2023.
He’d still need a miracle, and probably a couple of race wins, to catch the Mexican especially after Perez‘s comfortable second-place in Spa. Still, Hamilton confirmed the Mercedes W14 has felt much better since the team’s monster Monaco upgrade.
He’s outscored Perez by over a point per race since Monaco and Hamilton also picked up three podiums – two more than he scored before those upgrades went on his Mercedes.
“I think our biggest step was when we got to Monaco,” Hamilton added. “And the car’s really progressed a lot since then, we have a lot of understanding, a better understanding of where to position the car.
“It’s been a lot more consistent, there’s been more podiums and top-five finishes which has been great and we’ve got great reliability.”
Where is the next F1 race?
F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix from Zandvoort on August 25-27, where championship leader Max Verstappen will be racing on home soil.