Lewis Hamilton has said Mercedes “know what they need to do” over winter to try and reel in Red Bull, reflecting on a disappointing season-ending weekend in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton finished ninth after a tough race for the Mercedes driver in which he suffered front wing damage, and believed he was brake tested by Fernando Alonso heading into Turn 5 midway through the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He had already secured third place in the Drivers’ Championship, but Mercedes did just about enough to hold onto second in the Constructors’ standings come the chequered flag on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes ‘know what they need to do’ in off-season
The year will now wind down for 2023 but it will not be long before attention turns to the 2024 campaign, with work having long since started on next season’s cars.
Hamilton admitted it’s a “concern” to see how far ahead Max Verstappen was at the chequered flag on Sunday, as he took his 19th win in 22 races this season.
While Mercedes finished as ‘best of the rest’, they were a long distance behind the runaway Drivers’ and Constructors’ champions this season, which has given Hamilton pause for thought.
“Not too much really,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1 when asked what he could take from the 2023 season as a whole.
“It’s not been a great year in general, so there’s not a lot to take from the year in general.
“It’s the fact that I survived it, probably that’s about it.”
A long winter is ahead for Mercedes to try and hit the ground running in 2024 as they go about trying to challenge Red Bull, and Hamilton has spoken about the work he is doing himself behind the scenes to try and help along the way.
Though he has been in constant contact with his team back at the team’s base in Brackley, Hamilton will be ready for some down time after a gruelling 22-race campaign.
Testing will take place in late February, and in terms of what else he can influence on car development, the seven-time World Champion admitted “it’s just down to the team now”.
“At this moment, I don’t really know,” he responded when asked whether Mercedes will be in a position to challenge come the start of 2024.
“For Red Bull to win by 17 seconds in the end, and they haven’t developed their car since August is definitely a concern.
“But we’ve learned a lot about the car and it’s just down to the team now.
“They know what they need to do. Whether or not we’ll get there, we’ll see.”