Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes didn’t listen to his feedback about what he needed from the 2023 car and has to take responsibility for its lack of performance this season.
Mercedes was nearly a second per lap off the pace of Red Bull in race trim on Sunday in the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Hamilton finishing fifth behind Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. With Mercedes arguably the fourth-fastest team despite sticking with its zero sidepod car concept, Hamilton says his comments were not taken on board.
“Last year, there were things I told them,” Hamilton told the BBC. “I said the issues that are with the car. I’ve driven so many cars in my life so I know what a car needs, I know what a car doesn’t need. I think it’s really about accountability.
“It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work.’ We’ve got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points, and just huddle up as a team. That’s what we do.
“We’re still multi world champions, you know? Just haven’t got it right this time. Didn’t get it right last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get it right moving forwards.”
Despite the issues with the new car, Hamilton says it is a much better experience to race with it compared to the 2022 design that suffered from extreme porpoising.
“I love driving and it wasn’t bouncing! My brain is intact and my teeth are still in my mouth, I don’t have any pains in my back,” he said. “I just generally enjoyed the drive. I enjoyed that I managed to have a couple of battles and it was close but it was not quite there. I’ve had many cars like this, particularly back in the McLaren days. I’ve had many cars like this, particularly back in the McLaren days.
“I don’t know when or how we’re going to do it in terms of turning it round, but it’s going to have to happen.”