Lewis Hamilton acknowledges ‘big changes’ need to be made at Mercedes in 2024

Michelle Foster
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his runner-up result at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes need 'big changes' to catch Red Bull in 2024.

Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes have to make “some real big changes” as while he was second at the Mexican Grand Prix, he was over 10 seconds down on race winner Max Verstappen.

Hamilton raced his way from sixth onto the podium in Mexico, passing the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to run second behind Verstappen.

But he wasn’t able to chase down the Red Bull as he had down last Sunday in Austin and crossed the line 13.8s later while Verstappen clinched his record-breaking 16th race win of the season.

Lewis Hamilton calls on Mercedes to make ‘big changes’

It was Hamilton’s second runner-up result in Mexico in as having years having also lost to Verstappen last season. This year, though, he was a little bit closer in his recently upgraded W14.

“It definitely gives us a lot of confidence,” he said.

“I mean, last year, at the same time, we were doing the same thing, but last year, I think we were three-tenths behind Max in qualy – or something like that, and I came second again but he walked off with it.

“So, we’re really just mirroring what we did last year.

“So, we have to make some real big changes for next year. Because obviously, in Bahrain earlier this year, they’re 1.5 seconds a lap faster than us at least.

“So the key is to make sure that’s not the case in Bahrain, but I think hopefully these next couple of races will be close. But I’d probably put money on it that he’d get to 18, 19, with that car.”

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Could Hamilton have tried to catch Verstappen?

Having set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, Hamilton was asked if could have pushed a little bit harder in an attempt to catch Verstappen for the lead.

He revealed he did try at one point but that Verstappen responded with a slightly faster time leaving the Briton to consolidate his second place ahead of Leclerc.

“Yeah, for sure I could have pushed a little bit harder,” he said, “but I did at one time try to see, okay, I think I’ve saved enough, let me see if I can try and close this gap to Max.

“I think it was like 10 laps to go, and I did a 22.0 and Max did a 21.9. I was like, ‘Ah, I’ll leave it’. He was just cruising at 21.9. So yeah, so I thought I’d leave it there.

“And also, I had to be cautious, just careful because obviously my tyres… if I really pushed them for the last 10 laps, they probably would have opened up, and who knows, maybe Charles would have caught me up. So, I just had to be cautious with that.”

Sunday’s result means the Briton is now just 20 points behind Sergio Perez in the Drivers’ standings after the Mexican driver retired following an opening-lap collision.

Hamilton, though, isn’t banking on taking the runner-up spot away from the Red Bull driver.

“It’s mostly dependent on Checo’s weekends really. They have the championship-winning car. He’s just been unfortunate, I think, in some scenarios,” he said.

“Obviously I’ve lost quite a lot of points in the last two races but he lost points today. So it’s swings and roundabouts.

“I think coming into the weekend, having lost points last week, I didn’t think I would really be in shooting range particularly but after today, yeah, we’ll just give it our best shot.

“Honestly, it’s not going to make a big difference to my life, whether I come second or third. It’s more important to get the team second in the Constructors and so that’s what I’m focused on. It’s a bonus if we get second in the Drivers’.”

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