Lewis Hamilton calls for ‘big changes’ to W15 after racing in a ‘different category’

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton speaks to media in Saudi Arabia.

Lewis Hamilton weighs in on his Mercedes replacement

Lewis Hamilton hopes to see “big changes” on the Mercedes W15 having been “miles off” the pace in high-speed corners in Saudi Arabia.

The seven-time World Champion was pleased with how his car has been handling in slower parts of circuits, but while trying to chase Lando Norris in Jeddah on Saturday, the McLaren driver was able to get far enough clear of the Mercedes in the fast first sector so Hamilton could not attack in the final stint.

Lewis Hamilton: ‘It was like I was in a different category’ to F1 rivals in high-speed corners

Having been involved in an entertaining dice with Oscar Piastri for the majority of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Hamilton having not pitted under the early Safety Car and opted to try and make an alternate strategy work, he eventually stopped and came out behind Norris in the final stint.

Norris had taken the same strategy approach as the Mercedes driver and the pair could not chase down Ferrari stand-in, debutant and fellow Briton Oliver Bearman come the finish in Jeddah.

A P9 placing was the sum of Hamilton’s efforts come the chequered flag, a second Safety Car that Mercedes had gambled upon not emerging in Jeddah.

But more worrying for the team was, while following Norris, the McLaren driver was able to open out a significant gap over Hamilton in the first sector, with that part of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit made up almost exclusively of fast, flowing corners – which led the seven-time World Champion to believe that his car simply could not match their rivals in that way.

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“I mean, the car is good in the low speed and not so bad in the medium, but in the high speed we are miles off,” Hamilton explained to Sky Sports F1 after the race.

“The guys were…it was like I was in a different category when I was going through the high speed between the other people, the other guys around me.

“So it’s frustrating for sure to be three years in a row in almost the same position. Or it’s definitely tough, but we’ll get our heads down and we’ll keep working away, and I know everyone back at the factory is pushing as hard as they can, but we’ve definitely got to make some big changes.

“You know, we haven’t made big enough changes perhaps. You look at the three teams ahead of us, they still have different concepts to where we are in some areas so we’ve got some performance to add, that’s for sure.”

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