Lewis Hamilton: ‘The W14 is pretty much the same as the W13’

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton during free practice. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Lewis Hamilton during free practice. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Lewis Hamilton has commented that he feels no difference between this year’s car and the car that caused him so many problems in 2022.

A Mercedes car dominating at the top of the grid is becoming an increasingly distant memory with Hamilton now going 24 races since his last win but those glory days seem unlikely to return any time soon.

Having had all winter to correct the errors of the W13, it seems Mercedes were able to solve the porpoising issue but not the lack of performance.

They struggled in Bahrain and the early signs from Friday’s running in Saudi Arabia are that they will struggle again come Sunday.

Hamilton in particular was downbeat about the W14, commenting it was “pretty much the same” as the W13.

“[FP2] was pretty much the same [as FP1],” he said. “So a second off or whatever it was but for me, I definitely struggled in the session. I struggled in both sessions.

“[The W14 is] pretty much the same [as the W13]

“We just continue to go into detail, trying to improve the balance of the car to make it easy to drive. It’s just a tough car to drive but I know everyone’s working so hard in the factory. So it’s just a matter of time, just having to be patient.”

His team-mate George Russell was equally downcast, conceding they were “not going to find a second overnight.”

“I think you just can go out there [and] maximise the package you’ve got,” Russell said when asked what he could do this weekend. “Try and get the setup in the sweet spot.

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“We’re not going to find a second overnight as much as I’d love to do that and all the hard work everybody’s putting in.

“But we need to just continue to understand and recognise the sort of new direction we’re taking as a team, the correct one, and that’s for the guys and girls back at the factory and everybody here to unpick the data.

“But for me this weekend and sort of a small group of engineers, you just go out there and try and maximise what you’ve got.”

As to those aforementioned changes, Russell said it was too soon for major progress and the car was not close “to what we want to see in the future.”

“It’s small changes for this weekend, but probably closer to what we had in Bahrain, compared to what we want to see in the future.

“We had some test items on the car for FP2 on my side but again, these are the small things and in the short term, to do it right, it takes a bit more time.”