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Mercedes F1 Chasing Crucial Tenths for Victory

Hamilton Clinches Season’s First Podium in Style

24/06/2024

Lewis Hamilton celebrates his season’s first podium, while Mercedes F1 eyes key improvements.

Lewis Hamilton clinched his first podium of the season in Barcelona this Sunday, his first since last year’s Mexican Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion had to fight hard on the track to achieve it and did not hide his relief during the post-race press conference, as this result also confirms Mercedes F1’s return to form.

“It’s a great relief to finally achieve a good result. It has been a while since that happened. A big thank you to the race team for doing an extraordinary job throughout the weekend, and especially to the factory team who worked so hard for long hours to bring components to the car. Last year, we were very fast here, but we have to take that with a pinch of salt. However, in the last two races, we have also been relatively competitive. So, I think we have slightly closed the gap, but we still have two solid tenths to try and find. Everyone needs to be on deck, and we need to continue pushing.”

The British driver believes that it is currently not possible to compete with Red Bull and McLaren F1 with the current W15, so future developments will be crucial to contend for wins.

“I think this is the maximum we can get from the car at the moment. But we are still refining it through subtle changes. So we are still refining it as we continue to tune it throughout the year. But we need to add a few elements, additional elements to be able to compete with these guys.”

Hamilton had to overtake Carlos Sainz twice during the Grand Prix. The Spanish driver was unhappy with the first maneuver, feeling that his opponent had not left him enough space, but the Mercedes driver disagrees.

“It’s never nice to be overtaken. And I think we had a nice tight battle at the first corner. I left him a bit of space, so I think he was still on the track. In the end, he left the door open inside; he didn’t close it completely. So, I took the inside and tried to take the turn. I think he came back. I think we also touched, but it was nothing serious. It was like a small rub. I left him a bit of space on the exit.”

Progress to be confirmed in qualifications

With two podiums in two races, Mercedes F1 seems to be on the right track, and Hamilton is also pleased to have regained good sensations.

“Definitely. We are becoming more consistent. And if I can make my qualifications like this weekend, it will make Sunday much easier. It’s also easier if you get a good start. But my Saturdays have been so bad over the last 15 races. So it’s a good thing to have a trouble-free weekend. And I hope this puts us in a good position to compete in the upcoming races.”

If Hamilton had previously struggled in qualifications, it was partly because he had difficulty finding the right settings on his W15. Here too, the seven-time world champion seems to be finding answers on the right path to follow.

“I think our car has generally been very, very sharp. And that means it’s often unbalanced. It’s very rare that it’s balanced and goes through corners smoothly. I’ve obviously experimented a lot with the settings over the last two years, but the car doesn’t really like any settings except one, and it’s slowly becoming more pleasant to drive. And finally, the tires. Tires have been a huge issue for me. I think we got pretty good results this weekend. If I can make some improvements over the next few races, I think there’s more performance to be had.”

Mercedes F1 Chasing Crucial Tenths for Victory

Mercedes F1: Chasing Crucial Tenths for Victory. Mercedes F1: Chasing Crucial Tenths for Victory

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