Lewis Hamilton makes ‘hindsight’ admission as Mercedes take ‘new direction’ at Chinese GP

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, in the paddock at Suzuka.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton admits Mercedes would have “done things differently” with the benefit of hindsight, but will continue efforts to get the W15 on the right path with a “new direction” for the Chinese Grand Prix.

F1 2024 has been a frustrating season so far for Mercedes, who are yet to score a podium with a W15 car which appears to be compromised by correlation issues, with the team’s data not translating on to the track.

Mercedes unpicking past W15 ‘mistakes’ with ‘new direction’

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff referred to the Japanese Grand Prix as a “testing” session, as he looked beyond the P7 and P9 finishing positions to focus on the belief that they had made a breakthrough in extracting performance from the W15.

Hamilton feels said breakthrough could have come earlier, though “hindsight” is a wonderful thing and now Mercedes will look to step up their recovery mission in China.

“Nothing’s changed with our car, so it’s going to be the same car this weekend,” said Hamilton.

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“But we understand it a little bit more. We look on the last weekend, we did make improvements and so bringing some of those learnings into this weekend. And then on top of that, some new direction again.

“I think if we could go back, you would have done things differently. That’s hindsight and experience.

“So we’re trying to bring that here this weekend and see if we can implement some of those changes we would have done perhaps further in Suzuka and hopefully that can find us a bit of performance.”

Russell said Mercedes are aware “mistakes” have been made over the past couple of years, though argued that the “uber-competitive” battle for ‘best of the rest’ status – alongside the high-speed tracks which have dominated the opening portion of the calendar – has not helped Mercedes’ cause.

“At the end of the day, Formula 1 is uber-competitive at the moment,” he said.

“I think it’s been a long time since we’ve seen four teams all fighting for let’s say that second-best position. Of course Red Bull are a little bit ahead of everybody and in a comfortable position.

“And of course, we’re not satisfied with the position we’re in. Everybody’s hugely motivated on improving.

“We have made mistakes over these past couple of years, we know that. And as Lewis said, with the benefit of hindsight, we would have done things differently.

“But we can only focus on the here and now and focus on the improvements. It has only been four races. The last three races have all been largely very similar circuits, very high-speed nature in Jeddah, in Melbourne, in Suzuka.

“We saw we were more competitive in Bahrain, qualifying third and probably should have finished on the podium if it wasn’t for the PU problems.

“So, as I said in the last race, if the season started at four different circuits, we could have been in a very different position now and time will tell how we get on this weekend.

“We have things we need to improve. And I trust the team is working their socks off to achieve that.”

Hamilton holds the record for most victories at the Shanghai International Circuit with six.

Read next: ‘Unless two wrongs somehow make a right’ – Mercedes could struggle in China says F1 analyst