Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes still have the potential to win races this season despite a series of poor showings leading up to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. The Silver Arrows have introduced new upgrades to the W13, similar to those that Red Bull and Ferrari used earlier this season, which could turn their fortunes around and close the gap to the front-runners.
This weekend could be make or break for Mercedes, having supposedly torn through most of their mid-season development budget on making upgrades for Barcelona. Getting on top of persistent porpoising issues has proven impossible so far, but upgrades have given Hamilton renewed optimism before the action unfolds in Catalonia.
“The potential is in this car to win,” he told Sky Sports. “Do I think it’s a Championship-winning car? I don’t have the evidence to base that off just yet, but I do believe that there is potential there for us to be fighting at the front.
“We just can’t unlock it right now. The porpoising just ties our hands behind our backs and doesn’t allow us to extract that. Every weekend I arrive, I’m like ‘this could be the day’.”
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Pit-lane pictures show new winglets underneath the car have been introduced to improve air flow. Ferrari and Red Bull introduced similar tweaks earlier in the season, and both teams have looked extremely strong so far.
Subtle changes to the floor have also been made which may finally prevent the brutal porpoising that has hampered Hamilton and team-mate George Russell. The Silver Arrows got the chance to trial out their new developments during a filming day at Circuit Paul Ricard this week as Russell was given 17 laps of action.
After a frustrating weekend in Miami last time out, which saw Hamilton get unlucky behind a late safety car, the seven-time world champion is understandably feeling more optimistic heading back to a familiar stomping ground. “When you go to places like Barcelona, you have so much data from decades of driving there,” Hamilton told the Petronas Motorsports YouTube channel. “You go there and it’s much more relaxed because we know more about it and it’s easy to prepare for.”
It will still be a big ask to close the gap on Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who have won each of the season’s first five races between them. The Dutchman has won every Grand Prix that he has finished this year which could worry his Ferrari rival.
Mattia Binotto has promised that new upgrades are on the way for the Prancing Horse as the pendulum continues to swing one way and then the other. It remains to be seen whether Mercedes’ new upgrades will allow them to join the party, and whether it will be too late to claw back hopes of another championship even if they do.
The Silver Arrows are currently third in the Constructors’ standings, 62 points behind runaway leaders Ferrari.