(Motorsport-Total.com) – If you want to get an impression of how Mercedes really evaluates the updates, the best thing to do is tune in to Lewis Hamilton’s pit radio after crossing the finish line at the Monaco Grand Prix in 2023.
Lewis Hamilton finished fourth in the first race with updates
“Good job, Lewis! This P4. Not bad at all, and fastest lap on top of that,” praised race engineer Peter Bonnington, and Hamilton responded with a relaxed “Wuhuu” and: “Let’s go! Great job guys. That was a tough race. I’m grateful. So much for the work everyone put in to make this upgrade happen. We need more, you know. But let’s keep pushing.”
As if to dispel rumors of an alleged changeover, Hamilton added: “I believe in you.” And when team boss Toto Wolff personally responded on pit radio, Hamilton acknowledged it with tongue and respect: “Yes, sir.”
“A good result, a good improvement as a team overall,” says Hamilton. “I think we made a step forward. Getting fourth and fifth in such a tough race is a great result. The team involved really strong strategic work. Getting past the Ferraris was great.”
Something was still missing in Ferrari’s pace
Hamilton started the Grand Prix from fifth place on the medium compounds, unlike his teammate George Russell, who started on hard tyres. When he pitted as the first driver from the top 15 to change tires on lap 31, he was 3.6 seconds behind Sainz and 0.9 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari sandwich.
This shows that not all is gold at Mercedes, as Sainz led from his attempted hit-and-run against Esteban Ocon at the port chicane with a damaged front wing and hard tyres, but was still able to pull away a bit from Hamilton.
But when rain clouds came over the hill in Monaco and it started raining, the Mercedes experts reacted more steadfastly than Ferrari, turning into a mediator, thus overtaking the two Ferraris.
I haven’t heard anything from Russell’s Pit Radio
Meanwhile, Russell wanted a stable order and suggested he be allowed to pass Hamilton so he could take on Leclerc. Russell received a five-second penalty. However, as the radio record shows, his proposal was not made to Hamilton.
He drove his own race Focus and shortened the 2.1 seconds he had at Ocon on lap 57 so quickly that he made his DRS Alpine window debut on lap 59. The podium was still out of reach. Hamilton wasn’t so much faster that it was enough to try to overtake.
“There is no word for how difficult the conditions are today,” Hamilton analyzes. “I couldn’t get a hot average at the start. Our timing for the tire change was good, but it was very difficult not to make a mistake and keep the car on track.”
“My hair was a little too intense for me,” he says. “Our tires didn’t work. It was like driving on ice. But after a while the tires started working and then got better. I nearly crashed a few times, but it was okay.”
Timo Glock: Mercedes did the best of it
“Sky” expert Timo Glock believes Mercedes “made the most of what was available. If you think about it, they came with a revamped car, which isn’t easy to parse and in the right direction. They did a good job with both drivers. Overall, a weekend Successful week with the new package.
Hamilton shakes his head: “I’m really happy. Before the weekend we didn’t know where we’d be. I’d like to thank everyone who worked at the factory to bring these upgrades in. It was a lot of work and we got the car home in one piece and beat the Ferraris.”
“I have a feeling the car has improved and made progress,” he says. “I think we feel it better in Barcelona – on a track where we can push a lot in all the medium and fast corners. Overall it was a positive start for us.”
How are the updates going now?
It’s hard to evaluate updates after Monaco. With its profile, the Street Circuit is not your typical racetrack. Hamilton tries anyway: “The car was very stiff on the bumps. I noticed a certain area that was clearly better. I don’t know how it will be next week.”
Wolff says, however, that the rain is more expensive for Mercedes: “Our tires deteriorated more than the competition, and the Alps were not only very good in qualifying, but also in racing. Lewis’s tires wore out. But is this car or because he was sitting in the gearbox?” For the man in front of him? It’s hard to say.”
In any case, the foundation for further progress seems to have been laid with the modernization (underbody, front wheel suspension, side boxes). Hamilton’s mood was not as good as it had been after Monaco for weeks. You can hear it in his interviews as well as on the radio.
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