With Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finishing fourth, Formula 1 left Belgium having witnessed a familiar figure taking the chequered flag.
The overtake will have brought back memories of their epic on-track battles from 2021.
However, with Hamilton not having taken a win since that season, the question remains will he reach the top step in any of the remaining races this season?
Mercedes’ Continued Struggles
By their own admission, Mercedes took a wrong direction with their 2023 car design philosophy. This was an evolution of last years troublesome W13.
Results have been more consistent compared to last season. However, the dominance of Red Bull and the rise of midfield teams such as Aston Martin and McLaren has left victories out of the question for the Silver Arrows.
The team arguably boast the most talented driver pairing on the grid in George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. Despite this, inability to provide them with a front-running car continues to be a frustration.
Regular upgrades mean the team have frequently fought for podiums. Although, the most recent performance improvements saw the return of the bouncing phenomenon that plagued the team throughout 2022.
Mercedes’ will be hoping their upcoming packages scheduled for after the summer break will eradicate this. The goal will be to provide a solid platform to work from going forward.
Hamilton still has the pace
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has remained the centre of attention despite his team’s current performance levels.
Regardless of their pace, Lewis has demonstrated throughout the year that he still has the pace to fight at the front should he be given the tools to do so.
Second place finishes in Melbourne and Barcelona were followed up by a stunning pole position in Budapest.
When given the opportunity, Lewis has delivered strong results, perhaps results that proceed the expectations of the team in their current situation.
If Mercedes can provide the 7-time champion with a worthy challenger, Hamilton will certainly be ready to fight when the chance comes.
WiIl Mercedes challenge Red Bull this season?
Although Hamilton has the ability to win, there are doubts surrounding Mercedes’s ability to match Red Bull before 2024.
The Brackley-based outfit have a huge deficit to the reigning champions. More significantly, they are restricted by F1’s cost cap and aerodynamic testing regulations.
As a result, should Mercedes find an upturn in pace, they may be unable to add performance to their car until next season when the restrictions refresh.
For fans dreaming up a battle at the front, the team did manage a victory at the end of the 2022 season when they found a sweet spot in their car’s setup in Brazil.
There is potential of a repeat this year as teams begin to turn attention to the 2024 season.
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To find out more about how the first half of the season played out, click here.