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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team during Day Three of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 23, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain.

Hamilton: Mercedes ‘got work to do’ after F1 testing

The Silver Arrows are hoping to correct a winless season in 2023 ahead of the 2024 season and the seven-time world champion's last season with the Brackley team

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Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes it not yet “where we want to be”, admitting that they have “got work to do”, despite a positive Formula 1 test in Bahrain.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during day three of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 23, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain.
Mercedes completely changed its concept after a winless 2023 season (Image Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The Brackley-based outfit opted to completely change its concept for its W15 challenger. The German manufacturers hoped the changes would eradicate weaknesses that hampered Lewis Hamilton and teammate George Russell during 2023.

The Silver Arrows were left winless in 2023 – neither Hamilton or Russell able to reach the top step of the podium.

Throughout this year’s Formula 1 testing, the feeling was that Mercedes were able to iron out issues, such as having a unpredictable rear end.

Mercedes don’t have the pace yet

Despite being happier with the handling of the car, Hamilton believes that the W15 in not where the team wants it to be with its pace:

“We know we’ve got work to do and we’re not yet where we want to be. We knew that would be the case coming into the test though.”

“We’ve got a great platform to build on. We’ll go away and work hard over the next couple of days to go through all the data from the test. I’m really excited for the start of the season next week and we’ll be heading into it in good shape.”

Still lacking pace to Red Bull

Russell is in no doubt that the team doesn’t have the pace to match the dominant Red Bull. The Austrian team’s RB20 showed impressive pace during testing, despite the big change in concept from its dominant RB19.

However, Russell believes that the Silver Arrows are in a much better place than they were last year.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during day three of F1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on February 23, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain.
TThis year will be Hamiltns last season with Mercedes before moving to Ferrari (Image Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

“The car has been handling well and correlates to the feeling we had on the simulator ahead of coming here,” he said. “We’ve got a very good base to build from.

“We’re aware that there’s a lot more lap time to find. We knew that would be the case ahead of the test, and Red Bull are looking very strong once again.

“Nevertheless, I’m confident that we’re in a much better place than we were 12 months ago. The team at Brackley and Brixworth have done a great job to get us into this position and with a car that is a step in the right direction.

“We now need to focus on firstly getting the most out of the package we have, and secondly adding more downforce and trying to close that gap.”

Ironing out issues from W14

Mercedes trackside engineer Andrew Shovlin believes there are signs showing that the W15 has improved weaknesses from last year’s W14.

“The team has worked hard to iron out the handling flaws that were integral to the W14, and it’s great that we seem to have put a number of those problems behind us,” he said.

“Over the course of the test we’ve made good steps on our understanding of the car. The task of the next few days is to pick through the results and put together the best package to take into the race weekend.

“It’s never easy to make predictions on pace from testing, as all teams are quite effective at hiding their pace when they want to. It’s clear that we are in a much better position than 12 months ago though.”

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