Lewis Hamilton highlights one key area where Red Bull’s advantage is ‘insane’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton speaking to his mechanics in the Mercedes garage. Azerbaijan April 2023

Lewis Hamilton speaking to his mechanics in the Mercedes garage. Azerbaijan April 2023

Having spent a number of laps behind Max Verstappen in Canada, Lewis Hamilton proclaimed “your rear end is insane” – he was referring to the car and not the driver.

Hamilton got the jump on Fernando Alonso at the start of the Canadian Grand Prix and spent several laps chasing Verstappen around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

The Briton would ultimately lose out to Alonso with the Spaniard pulling off a DRS assisted pass to take second place some five seconds ahead of the Mercedes driver.

It was a race that Mercedes have stated shows they’ve taken a big step forward with the W14 but more steps need to be made, most notably with the car’s rear-end downforce and stability. Watching Verstappen’s RB19 highlighted that for Hamilton.

“Your rear end is insane,” he said in the cooldown room after the grand prix.

“Mine?” questioned Alonso, only for Hamilton to burst his bubble just a little bit.

“His,” he said referring to race winner Verstappen. “Yours is pretty awesome too.”

He later told the media: “I got to experience being behind Max and his rear is very strong. His rear end doesn’t move and he pulls ten car lengths probably on me just coming out of the corners.”

That’s proving to be one of the W14’s big weaknesses with Hamilton admitting they “struggle in the slower corners, particularly.

“That was where I was losing to Fernando and Max – just on traction out of pretty much every corner. We just need to add more rear downforce in the car and a little bit more efficiency.”

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He added: “We’ve got a lot of work to do just to add rear downforce to the car and a little bit more efficiency, but we’re chipping away, and I do believe we will get there at some stage.”

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has already promised Hamilton more upgrades are coming with the B-spec car to receive a further revamp at the British Grand Prix.

“We’re bringing a larger one to Silverstone, then we should have another one before shutdown. It’s just that the learnings have accelerated a lot since we changed some of them conception architecture, and there should be decent steps coming in the next four races,” said Wolff.

Those changes, he added, will focus on helping the rear-end grip that the W14 is lacking.

“That was the problem of the car all along since we started last year. We have a strong front but we still trailing and still not good enough and we’ve seen that today, particularly out of the low-speed corners with traction and stability,” he added.

“I think we can fix it, but it is aero, it is the mechanical concept – that’s all intertwined, there’s not one thing.”