Lewis Hamilton ‘woke up on a mission’ but ‘absolutely shocked’ with result

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton driving the Mercedes W14. Spain, June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton in action at the wheel of the Mercedes W14. Spain, June 2023.

Lewis Hamilton was in the zone from the get-go in Barcelona after a solid Friday night of work at Mercedes, but he could never have imagined he would be gunning for a front-row start.

Hamilton’s mindset heading into the race weekend was certainly not as upbeat as it is now, the Brit claiming that Mercedes’ new-look W14 was not yet delivering the gains they hoped for, but the string of development to come should put them a second up the road.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is though regarded as a far more representative test of a challenger than Monaco was, and the signs therefore are certainly promising based on Hamilton’s qualifying display.

While there would be no stopping Max Verstappen on his way to pole for the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton had positioned himself throughout qualifying as a strong contender to join his former title rival on the front row.

That may not have ultimately come to pass, Hamilton instead set to start from P4, but he nonetheless was “absolutely shocked” with the performance of that W14 after he and Mercedes had burnt the midnight oil on Friday to search for a breakthrough.

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“Well firstly, absolutely shocked today to see us like, it was a real surprise to see us so far up front and competing for ultimately the front row,” Hamilton told Sky F1.

“But we did some great work overnight with the analysis. We did a lot of work, I think I was here until like 11 last night trying to figure out where we can find the time.

“I knew when I woke up this morning I was on a mission, but anyway, I definitely didn’t expect us to be fighting for front row and the car really came alive today from [F]P3.

“And I think ultimately just our whole package, big big thank you to everyone back in the factory because it is showing that we are progressing, which I’m so grateful to see and I really enjoyed driving the car today.”

Hamilton then will look to lead Mercedes’ Sunday charge as the eight-time Constructors’ champs set about snatching P2 in the Constructors’ Championship away from Aston Martin, with their deficit down to just a single point.