Lewis Hamilton says his target for the second part of the season is to help Mercedes secure second in the constructors’ championship and catch Fernando Alonso in the drivers’ standings.
Mercedes struggled early in 2023 with its car design and made radical changes to try and close the gap to Red Bull, while also having to fight the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari and now McLaren for podiums. While Alonso scored five podiums to Hamilton’s one in the opening six rounds, the gap has been closing since and with just one point between the pair at this stage Hamilton is keen to secure a top three finishing position.
“I’ve been incredibly proud of everybody, everyone’s been working insanely hard,” Hamilton said. “We’ve been making big steps – I think the biggest step we took is when we got to Monaco – and the car has really progressed a lot since then. We have a better understanding of where to position the car, it’s been a lot more consistent, we’ve had more podiums and top-five finishes which has been great.
“And generally getting great reliability, so there’s lots and lots of good bits, but the balance we’ve still got to work on, we need more downforce as we always do, but I know everyone back at the factory is head down and focused on that. So just massively focused on getting second for the team in the constructors’ – or keeping that – and trying to get third (in the drivers’ championship).”
Despite Mercedes enjoying greater consistency than its rivals and scoring top-five finishes in all but two race weekends, Hamilton is expecting to see further fluctuations in form after the summer break given how closely-matched the four chasing Red Bull are.
“I don’t know how much development people will be doing in the second part of the season, but I think there will be movement. I don’t know what happened to Aston, how they’ve taken a step back, but I’m sure McLaren is going to be strong in the second phase, Ferrari and us, we are all very, very close.
“So depending on the track I’m sure there will be some movement of positions for us all, I hope that we can compete a little bit better moving forwards.”