Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton Sees Hungary Pole as Key Turning Point for Mercedes’ 2024 F1 Ambitions

Lewis Hamilton’s remarkable pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix has been a significant milestone for Mercedes, signaling a potential comeback against rivals Red Bull. This achievement not only boosted the team’s morale but also highlighted the technical advancements made despite recent challenges.

Key Takeaways:

  • Reviving Mercedes’ Hopes: Hamilton’s achievement in Hungary has been a major morale booster for Mercedes, reinforcing their belief in their potential to challenge Red Bull.
  • Technical Progress and Challenges: Despite facing design challenges, Mercedes has made significant progress, particularly with the revised floor introduced in Austin, which brought Hamilton close to victory.
  • Looking Ahead to 2024: Hamilton is optimistic about the 2024 season, expecting a substantially improved car, acknowledging the current limitations of the 2023 model.

Lewis Hamilton’s pole position in Hungary earlier in 2023 emerged as a beacon of hope for Mercedes, suggesting they might soon catch up with current leaders, Red Bull. After dominating Formula 1 from 2014 to 2021, Mercedes found itself grappling with the new ground effect-lead regulations, resulting in a dry spell for victories since December 2021.

However, the Hungarian Grand Prix stood out as a pivotal moment. Hamilton expressed, “I think Budapest was the best moment of the year, a circuit that I love, in which somehow, we were able to dethrone the Red Bulls at a specific moment. It gave us hope and the feeling that if we kept pushing, we would reach their level. When I drove the car for the first time in February, I never thought it was possible to achieve a pole.”

Mercedes underwent several technical evolutions throughout the season, including the adoption of the downwash sidepod solution in Monaco and a significant upgrade to the floor in Austin. These changes, particularly the revised floor, markedly improved the car’s performance, with Hamilton coming close to beating Verstappen in Austin, despite a later disqualification.

“With the improvement we made in Austin, with a couple more laps, we would have been in contention to fight for victory,” Hamilton remarked.

While Mercedes progressed, other teams like Aston Martin, McLaren, and Ferrari also made substantial strides, and Red Bull’s RB19 dominated the season. Mercedes is now focusing on a comprehensive revamp for 2024, aiming to rectify the shortcomings of the W14.

Hamilton concluded, “The progress has been positive, but it is still not a car capable of winning races and that is what we have to change our face to 2024.”

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