Lewis Hamilton reveals significant breakthrough after major W14 upgrades

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton prepares to lower himself into the cockpit of his Mercedes W14 at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, 2023.

Lewis Hamilton prepares to lower himself into the cockpit of his Mercedes W14 at the Miami Grand Prix. Miami, 2023.

After more than a year of not understanding their F1 car and how to eradicate its weaknesses, Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes have now found their “North Star” with the B-spec W14.

The most dominant team of the last decade, Mercedes got it wrong at the start of F1’s ground effect aerodynamic era as their W13 and its zero-pods bounced from one track to another and managed just one grand prix win, P1 at the penultimate round of the 2022 season in Brazil.

That turned out to be more detrimental than helpful as it led Mercedes to believe they were on the right track and so the team continued with their design philosophy into this year’s championship.

However, after the season-opening race in Bahrain team boss Toto Wolff conceded this was not the way to go and Mercedes put out a B-spec car at the Monaco Grand Prix. That’s already showing promising signs with a two-car podium in its second outing at the Spanish Grand Prix.

It has Hamilton believing Mercedes finally have a “North Star” to follow.

“Yeah, definitely a lot,” he said when asked how much confidence he has heading into the Canadian GP weekend, “that we’ve been making progress and the car, last race, we’ve all been buzzing.

“I think back at the factory and the whole team has this new energy and kind-of feels like we’ve got a North Star: we know where we’re going; we know how to get there. So, everyone’s just churning away and working as hard as possible.

“So, excited to come here. I’m hoping that… we generally don’t know whether this track suits our car, and the car’s characteristics, but the weather may change that and we’ll see.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Lewis Hamilton looking to ‘explore all avenues’ with Mercedes as talks rumble on

George Russell makes bold prediction as Lewis Hamilton nears new Mercedes deal

Heavy rain is forecast for all three days of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend with thunderstorms on Friday, rain all day long on Saturday and a 24% chance of more in the grand prix.

It could yet prove to the leveller Hamilton and Mercedes need to take on the rampant Red Bull team with the Briton looking to break Michael Schumacher’s record for the most Canadian GP wins by taking his eighth.

If he achieves that, that P1 will be Hamilton’s first race win since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Asked if it was getting ‘heavier’ chasing that win, he replied: “I don’t feel any weight. We’ve gone through a tough patch and we’re kind of, like, on that up. And I feel that there’s been a feeling of like…

“For example, the last race and some of the races, it feels like we’ve had wins. It’s just about perspective.

‘Of course, we’ve not been in first place but there have been many wins in the steps that we’ve taken. Last race, for us, as a team, to be on the podium with both drivers, that was a win for us. And so we’re just focused.

“We know, as I was just saying earlier, that we have that North Star. We know where we need to go. We don’t know everything of how to get there but we know that together we can get there if we just keep our heads down and focus on the science.

“The engineering team is fantastic within the organisation. We’ve got great development team and I honestly think we’ve got the best development rate, as good if not better than any team in the sport and so you’ve just got to keep chipping away.”