Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes hasn’t updated its car and is unsure where a recent step forward in performance has come from, but that it bodes well for his title hopes.
Mercedes was comfortably beaten in Zandvoort after Max Verstappen was also credited with victory in Belgium after qualifying on pole position for the rain-hit event. The two title rivals collided in Monza but Mercedes had the upper hand in Russia before Valtteri Bottas dominated the Turkish Grand Prix weekend, with Hamilton qualifying on pole and recovering from 11th to fifth after a grid penalty.
“Well, we haven’t done anything to the car,” Hamilton said. “So… I don’t really know why that is the case, I think the two tracks we’ve driven on have maybe suited us a bit more, but the car has been feeling good, it felt great (in Turkey) — moving forwards hopefully.
“Valtteri did a great job — if we can continue to perform like that over the next races it’ll be good for the team, and if the car continues to perform as it has that’ll be good for us.”
Hamilton’s result in Istanbul was limited by a new internal combustion engine that Mercedes opted to take due to reliability concerns. The defending champion is confident he won’t have to take any further new components but says it’s an area he shouldn’t be overly involved with.
“I don’t really give any energy to it — it’s not my job to worry about that stuff. I let the (team) guys focus on that. My engine’s in good condition, my first engine I think did six races, we still have engine two and I think engine three is still there. As far as I’m aware, hopefully I don’t have to but I can’t predict what’s up ahead.”
Despite the promising signs from Russia and Turkey, team principal Toto Wolff says he doesn’t expect Mercedes to be able to pull away when it comes to the drivers’ championship battle.
“I don’t think you can say (Mercedes will have the faster car) with absolute conviction,” Wolff said. “I believe that we have a really good package now. The car was very competitive (in Turkey) — if it wasn’t for a grid penalty I think we could have had every chance to finish first and second and that would have meant eight points more.
“But I’m looking carefully optimistic at the future, Austin is a track that we like and it’s another opportunity. But I’m under no illusions that this is going to go very much to the end in the drivers’ championship.”