Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton witnessed significant gains during the recently concluded United States Grand Prix at Austin. The COTA track brought along its own set of challenges, which the seven-time world champion managed to overcome gracefully. He finished P2 during the main race and P3 at the sprint.
However, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ happiness was cut short as the former was disqualified for failing the post-race floor and plank inspection. Nevertheless, the Brackley-based team couldn’t be happier with the pace gain, which nearly let Hamilton edge past Max Verstappen. Meanwhile, Toto Wolff, the team principal, opened up on the behind-the-scenes of the upgrade, which led to the pace gain.
Toto Wolff Claims Mercedes Floor Upgrade For The USA GP Was a Gamble Move!
Mercedes introduced their last significant upgrade of the 2023 season during the USA Grand Prix. A new floor was attached to the W14 as a part of the upgrade package. While the Silver Arrows introduced the package with the intent of learning purposes, the entire crew was left surprised by the pace gain. Lewis Hamilton seemed neck to neck to Max Verstappen at a certain point, right before the team messed up his pit-stop strategy. Even after the race, the British driver confessed that he had the pace to defeat Red Bull. Meanwhile, Toto Wolff, the team principal, reviewed the race weekend and credited Hamilton and the upgrade package equally for the performance gain.
Wolff claimed that the upgrade package was a pure gamble move. While they expected a little lap time gain, it was a big maybe. But surprisingly, the package worked perfectly and exceeded all expectations. “Directionally, I think it’s a very good sign,” said Wolff. The Austrian further added that the upgrades have finally started to come around. That is a big sign that the team is headed in the right direction with respect to W15’s development. Moreover, with the recent performance, the Brackley-based team finally has the confidence to beat the reigning champions in 2024. Having said that, Mercedes still needs to stay put with their strategies and pit stops. It is making them lose crucial seconds during crunch movements. Perhaps, a sense of urgency will emerge in 2024.
Lewis Hamilton Taking Home Positives Despite Disqualification!
Lewis Hamilton’s USA Grand Prix experience turned bittersweet as his hard-earned P2 finish was disqualified due to regulation infringement. What hurts more is that Hamilton had no role to play in it, as the setup was structured by a team of Mercedes engineers. Nevertheless, the British driver is disappointed but not dispirited. He is taking home the positives and leaving the disqualification setback in America.
During the post-race interview in Austin, Lewis Hamilton said that the unfortunate disqualification cannot take away the positives he gained during the weekend. He finally developed the desired connection with his W14. Moreover, Hamilton claimed that he had the race pace to beat Max Verstappen if not for the pit stop strategy mishap. That has filled him with confidence to chase Red Bull this year itself, as Mercedes still has four rounds more to go.