Lewis Hamilton delivers intriguing upgrade prediction after summer break

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in the press conference. Spa July 2023.

Lewis Hamilton has joined Ferrari on a "multi-year" deal starting in 2025.

While the leading teams are now casting an eye towards their 2024 challengers, Lewis Hamilton can still foresee some “movement” in the pecking order after the summer break.

Red Bull have been in a league of their own through the first-half of F1 2023, taking all 12 grand prix wins on offer, while Mercedes have been in a battle with Aston Martin, Ferrari and recently McLaren to settle at the front of that chasing pack.

Mercedes introduced their latest upgrade package for the W14 in Belgium, the final round before the summer break, with Hamilton scoring a P4 finish as he crossed the line behind the Red Bulls and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper and Thomas Maher

Lewis Hamilton does not believe pecking order is set

But, as the development war inevitably slows down into the second part of the season, Hamilton believes there is still scope for teams to make further alterations to their challengers and mix up that chasing pack once more.

He expects McLaren and Ferrari to offer a stern fight, while also acknowledging Aston Martin’s apparent loss of ground in recent rounds, the team admitting that their upgrades for Canada had muddied the waters for them a little as they pick apart the confusion surrounding their AMR23.

“I don’t know how much development people will be doing in the second part of the season, but I think there will be movement,” Hamilton predicted when speaking to media including PlanetF1.com.

“I mean, I don’t know what happened to Aston [Martin], they’ve taken a step back, but for sure the McLarens will be strong in the second phase, Ferrari and us, we’re all very very close.

“So depending on the track, I’m sure there’ll be some movement of positions for us all.”

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Toto Wolff rues porpoising return with Mercedes W14

Mercedes were caught out by the bouncing phenomenon known as porpoising during the opening stages of last season when the ground effect regulations came into force, and it seems this is now becoming an issue for Mercedes once more.

Having reported bouncing issues in Austria, Hamilton complained of further porpoising troubles in Spa after a race where he said Ferrari “had the upper hand this weekend”, Wolff revealing that the W14 was “bouncing literally on every straight”.

Before Mercedes then can truly turn their focus to the 2024 challenger, this spectre of their past will be need to be banished during the second-half of F1 2023.

“I’ve just seen the data and spoken to the drivers,” Wolff told media including PlanetF1.com after the Belgian GP. “The main limiting factor today and yesterday was the bouncing, the car is just bouncing literally on every straight.

“Even Blanchimont was a corner that Lewis had to lift, which is an easy flat normally, and you’re bouncing on the straight, you overheat the tyres on the braking. So that is a vicious circle and was the main limiting factor this weekend and it’s frustrating to check out on the holidays like this.

“But tomorrow and after tomorrow, we’re going to understand more based on the data.”

Mercedes go into the summer break still P2 in the Constructors’ standings, 51 points ahead of Aston Martin a place behind.

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