Mercedes have brought a totally new floor to this weekend’s race in Austin, and the seven-time world champion was delighted with the improvement he felt from it.
The team hope the modified floor will confirm the direction of their development heading into next season, and Hamilton’s initial verdict will be music to Mercedes’ ears.
“A good session for us,” Hamilton said after qualifying a strong third for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix. “Really grateful for the improvements that the team has made with the car.
“Everyone’s worked so hard to bring some upgrades and for us to be this close to McLaren and Ferrari and even the Red Bulls, I think it’s a showing of just how hard everyone’s worked.”
Asked to pinpoint where the revised W14 feels different, Hamilton replied: “The car feels almost the same, it’s just levelled up in pretty much everywhere.”
However, Hamilton’s optimism was followed by acknowledgement of the scale of the challenge Mercedes is facing in order to catch Red Bull by the start of 2024.
The 38-year-old Briton stressed that Mercedes still require “two, or three times of this step” to put themselves in a “super competitive mode”.
“I don’t know really if it’s a signifier of anything for next year,” he added.
“As we continue to experiment, we get more and more knowledge of where we’re going, where we’re routing, the flow of the car.
“The floor is not a huge amount different. There’s always hype when someone brings an upgrade, but the rest of the car is exactly the same and there’s lots and lots of areas in which we can improve.
“But this is an improvement. This is one of the first upgrades that I’ve actually felt over the last two years.
“So that’s a positive and we just need two, or three times of this step, to put us in a super competitive mode, of which I believe the guys can do.”