Lewis Hamilton has spoken of a “double knock-on effect” having found both performance and confidence gains with Mercedes’ upgraded floor.
The Brackley squad introduced a new floor at the United States Grand Prix with the team making it clear it was with 2024 in mind, however, they did still hope for small gains from the get-go.
That’s exactly what they found with Hamilton qualifying third on Friday before going on to chase down Max Verstappen in the Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton: We’re going in the right direction
Although he finished less than three seconds behind the Red Bull race winner, he would later lose his P2 and the 18 points after being disqualified when his W14 failed a post-race plank wear inspection.
Hamilton is nonetheless encouraged by his pace at the Circuit for The Americas.
“I’ve felt great from lap one on Friday and had a good recovery week and I felt solid in the car,” he said.
“And this is the first weekend that I’ve really felt the upgrades work. So I felt really positive, and incredibly grateful.
“I know how hard everyone’s working back to the factory so it’s nice to finally start to see the rewards of the hard work and to feel it in the car as well.
“I think this is definitely the most positive I’ve felt this year but in general it’s been not a terrible year.
“But yeah, just knowing the work that’s happening, I’m in constant contact with head of aero and the team back. I just feel like everyone’s really on their toes and really ready to go.
“There’s lots of things that we can improve on in terms of the processes and all of us, but I’m excited.
“I definitely believe that we’re going in the right direction.”
Hamilton ‘definitely’ believes a win is possible
It has the Mercedes driver dreaming of a first Grand Prix since his 2021 title challenge.
According to Hamilton the upgrade not only brought performance to the track but also bolstered his confidence in the car as he feels he can now “throw it into the corner”.
Asked about the prospect of claiming a win before the end of the season, he replied: “Yeah definitely.
“I think the step that we were able to take this weekend has given me a little bit more confidence in the car to throw it into the corner so it was positive. I really enjoyed driving around this track.
“There are still those fundamental issues that we’re having with the car, which won’t change till next year.
“But it was really positive, as I said, to feel that the steps that we have taken. Maybe it was only a 0.1 upgrade for example, but there was at least a 0.1 of confidence that it gave me so this helped me.
“So it’s quite interesting what you see when you do have those, it’s like a double knock-on effect.”
However, the disqualification is a blow to Hamilton’s hopes of chasing down Sergio Perez for second in the Drivers’ standings with the Red Bull driver’s advantage up to 37 points.