Lewis Hamilton: “Ultimately we’ve not brought any upgrades”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton and George Russell discuss Mercedes’ progress and their chances this weekend.

Mercedes is entering the third race of the 2022 season firmly on the back foot compared to Ferrari and Red Bull.

At the Australian Grand Prix drivers’ press conference, Lewis Hamilton confirmed the team hasn’t brought any major upgrades since Saudi Arabia, but he still hopes they will be closer.

“I hope so,” the Briton said.

“I’m really excited to get in the car, naturally. I’ve been buzzing… this morning, just super eager to get in the car, try this new track, hoping that it feels better here this weekend.

“Ultimately we’ve not brought any upgrades. The car’s the same car generally as the last race, but with every little race, we make a small improvement and I hope that it just feels a bit better here.

“Plus we have the four DRS zones. I’m just hoping we can race harder here,” concluded Hamilton.

His team-mate George Russell went more in-depth regarding Mercedes’ current situation.

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“We’re a long way behind Ferrari and Red Bull,” Russell said.

“I think we were probably further behind them in Jeddah [than in Bahrain] and we understand why.

“But obviously, when I think we had things optimised, or more optimised in Bahrain, we were still half a second, six-tenths behind.

“So we need to obviously close that gap, but there’s nothing substantial this weekend that will do that.

“It’s going to take time and I think we just have to be disciplined and patient because we are so far behind and because of the cost cap, we can’t afford just to throw things at it and trial and error at race weekends.

“We need to trust the process and bring the upgrades when we have total faith and confidence they will do as we expect. So that will be a number of races before we start seeing that.”

Asked if any frustration has started coming out at Mercedes, he said:

“More optimism and excitement, to be honest, because we do believe there is a solution, and we do believe there’s a lot of lap time on the table once we do optimise that.

“So we’re not here scratching our heads, not understanding why we’re off the pace. We absolutely know why we’re off the pace, and we know what we need to work on to improve that.

“And having that knowledge, having that understanding of what the issues are, and having the belief that we can solve it is quite an exciting place to be, because it gives us all something to go at.

“But we do appreciate that our rivals will be continuously improving. And even if we improve, there’s no reason why they won’t be improving as well.

“So it’s going to take time, for sure… There’s [no upgrade this weekend] that’s going to really put us in the fight with those guys.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we maximise our result, which is, as a team, being the third fastest team, making sure none of the midfield cars sneak in between us, and just gathering those points while we can.

“And this is going to be the case for a number of races to come,” the young Briton concluded.

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