Motor racing: Hamilton says Mercedes did not listen to him

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton finished fifth at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON – Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has said his Mercedes team did not listen to him in developing their 2023 car.

The Briton told reporters last week that the German outfit were on the wrong track before he finished fifth in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix opener.

“Last year, there were things I told them. I said the issues that are with the car,” Hamilton told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Chequered Flag podcast.

“I’ve driven so many cars in my life, so I know what a car needs. I know what a car doesn’t need. I think it’s really about accountability.

“It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work’.

“We’ve got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points, and just huddle up as a team. That’s what we do.”

Hamilton is Formula One’s most successful driver of all time, with a record 103 wins, but is out of contract at the end of the season.

The 38-year-old failed to win a race in 2022, a career first for a season, but has dismissed suggestions he might be holding off on a new deal until he knew how competitive his car was.

He told the BBC there was still time for Mercedes, whose run of eight successive constructors’ titles ended last campaign, to turn the situation around.

“We’re still multi-world champions, you know? It’s just we haven’t got it right this time. We didn’t get it right last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get it right moving forwards,” he said.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton (bottom, centre) and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez are seen during the drivers parade before the race in Bahrain. PHOTO: REUTERS

Team boss Toto Wolff acknowledged in Bahrain that Mercedes needed to have a rethink about the car.

“I don’t think this package is going to be competitive eventually,” said the Austrian of a car that stands out for its slimmed-down sidepods in marked contrast to Red Bull’s solution. “We got it wrong last year, we thought we could fix it by sticking to this concept of car and it didn’t work out.”

Red Bull’s two-time world champion Max Verstappen won in Bahrain with Mexican teammate Sergio Perez securing the one-two finish.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was third in a car powered by a Mercedes engine. REUTERS

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