Lewis Hamilton says his Mercedes W11 is not the easiest car to exploit but the 2020 Black Arrow is to date the “best car” the German outfit has ever had.
After a complicated opening race in Austria earlier this month, Hamilton scored his first win last week at the Red Bull Ring, a victory achieved in dominant fashion.
The Briton praised Mercedes’ engineers for raising the bar once again in terms of the Brackley squad’s technological excellence.
“There have been a couple of cars in the past that have been – I think Toto [Wolff] mentioned one being a ‘diva,’ which was not the word that I particularly had used – but you know, it was a real handful the majority of the time,” Hamilton explained.
“This one’s more refined. We really worked hard last year, in really being clear and concise in picking out what the issues were with the ’19 car and what we wanted to do moving forwards.
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“And that just continues to come from the great communication that we have as drivers with the team, with the engineers, the understanding we have with the terminology we use, and the team really take that in, and then have implemented that into the car today.
“But we’ve only been to one track. It’s still not easy to get the lap out of the car, but I think that’s F1 in general. But it is the best car that we’ve had so far.”
While Mercedes dominated the first two rounds of the season, Hamilton insisted the team will need to bring its “A-Game” to the Hungaroring, with Red Bull and Max Verstappen seen as major threats to the German team’s early hegemony
“It is obviously naturally different to last week’s circuit being that here it’s not a power-demanding circuit, it’s more about the downforce efficiency,” he said.
“So, if we look at the previous years we’ve been here, the Red Bull has generally gone well. They tend to do even better on the circuits like this and Monaco, where it’s all about the downforce package.
“So it will definitely close up the whole field and it’s going to be a real challenge – [and] I think a good battle.
“We already saw some great performance from them in practice in Austria and I think they’re still very strong in the race.
“I think here is going to be even more so. So we really need to bring our A-game this weekend.”
Valtteri Bottas said he was eager to assess the W11 versus its rivals – and especially Red Bull – on Hungary’s high-downforce layout.
“This is a very different type of circuit and we’ve only raced on one track up to now, so we’ve only seen how the teams and the cars have performed in one particular track,” commented Bottas.
“But we’ve got many races to go through and it will be nice to see how it actually compares.
“So far it’s only speculation but it’s a fact there’s fewer straights on this track, more corners and more downforce required.
“I think typically Red Bull has been quick on the type of corners this track offers, so we’ll see.
“It was, of course, encouraging to see the pace we had, and we expect to be strong here. I’m just keen to finally see on Saturday and Sunday how do we compare to the others in this type of track.”
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