Lewis Hamilton recently shed light on his initial frustrations with Mercedes at the beginning of the 2023 season in Bahrain. Despite his legendary status, Hamilton faced challenges as the team grappled with issues that impacted their performance throughout the season.
The Silver Arrows experienced a challenging year, narrowly securing second place in the constructors’ championship ahead of Ferrari. Hamilton finished the season in third place in the drivers’ standings, accumulating 234 points—341 fewer than Max Verstappen.
Reflecting on the season, Hamilton remarked, “I’m sure there were frustrations because I had asked for certain changes, and they weren’t done.” The veteran driver expressed disappointment that his pleas for alterations to enhance performance were unanswered by the team.
The Constructors’ Championship painted a clear picture of Red Bull’s dominance, with Verstappen potentially capable of securing the title single-handedly. Mercedes trailed in second place with 409 points, while Ferrari closely followed with 406 points.
Hamilton’s frustration was compounded by a lackluster season, marked by his second-ever winless year in Formula 1. This followed his first-ever winless season in his illustrious 17-year career. The 38-year-old driver also experienced his lowest podium finishes since the 2013 campaign, standing on the rostrum only six times in 22 races.
One highlight of the season was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, the sole non-Red Bull driver to secure a Grand Prix victory in 2023, delivering a brilliant performance at the Singapore GP.
The struggles for Mercedes were evident from the early stages of the season. Hamilton had foreseen a challenging year, stating that the team was “on the wrong track” after ending FP1 significantly off the pace in Bahrain. The signs were also apparent during testing.
Hamilton revealed that he engaged in “big, big talks” with Mercedes regarding the team’s car philosophy and the direction they took. He emphasized that the team seemed uncertain about resolving the issues, leaving his requests for changes unaddressed.
“No one knew exactly what the problem was. No one knew how to fix it,” Hamilton explained. Despite the setbacks, he remained positive throughout the year, urging the team not to give up and to continue pushing for the maximum potential from the car.
“I think for this year they thought: ‘The fundamentals are good, and we just have to go here.’ And it was not the case. That’s why I was frustrated in February because they hadn’t made the changes I’d asked for,” Hamilton added.