Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes needs to bring some upgrades to its car or Max Verstappen and Red Bull will win Formula 1’s world championships after their latest victory at the Styrian Grand Prix.
Verstappen took his third win in four races in Austria as he beat Hamilton by more than half a minute following a late pit stop for the Mercedes driver to chase the fastest lap. That also proved to be the fourth straight win for Red Bull after Sergio Perez’s success in Azerbaijan, and Hamilton says Mercedes doesn’t plan on developing its car any further but needs to if it wants to stay in the title race.
“They were way too fast today for us,” Hamilton said. “I knew that we were going to be somewhat behind in single-lap pace and as I said there was around a quarter of a second difference per lap for the long runs. We gave everything we could today but they’ve obviously made some really good steps forward over these past few races — straight-line speed has picked up a lot so we don’t know whether it’s wing or whether it’s engine, but either way they were too fast today and Max did a great job.
“We’ve still got many races ahead of us and we’ve got to keep pushing. We’re world champions and we can definitely improve if we put our minds to it. But if we’re not going to develop and improve our car for the rest of the year, this is the result you’re going to see, because they’ve really eked out performance in these last few races, whether it’s in France with the engine or with the new wing, whichever it is.
“But there’s another TD coming out for the wings; I don’t know if that’s stopping the bendiness or not. Maybe that will level the playing field, we’ll see.”
While Hamilton says he doesn’t doubt Mercedes’ approach as it switched its full focus to the 2022 regulations under a cost cap, he says he wants new parts to help close back up on Red Bull.
“I’ve got an incredibly intelligent, strong and amazing group of people working behind me who take all those decisions. Obviously you have to try and balance out with this new cost cap. Naturally we would love to have upgrades and improvements, but I don’t think that’s currently on the cards. Of course when we do a debrief we’ll chat about it, but that’s how it is at the moment.
“I’m not going to question the team’s logic and how they go through their process. As I said, I would love to have… Give us an upgrade! We would love an upgrade! But I don’t think it’s in the pipeline at the moment. We’re down on a few areas. It’s been close at the beginning of the season and if both Red Bull and us had the same performance as we did in those first four races then perhaps it would be a little more exciting. But as I said they’ve taken a decent step forwards.
“We’ll work as hard as we can to maneuver around it. But in terms of baseline performance this is what we got. I think we did a decent job today but it’s probably going to get harder if Sergio (Perez) has a better weekend, but we’re going to keep pushing.”