Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Hamilton doubts Mercedes’ British GP upgrade is enough to close gap to Red Bull

2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton doubts the upgrade Mercedes have planned for the next round of the world championship will be enough to close the gap to Red Bull.

The world champions have been beaten by Red Bull in the last five races. Hamilton fell 32 points behind Max Verstappen after finishing fourth in yesterday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

“These past races have been difficult and obviously he’s pretty much just cruising ahead, so there’s not really much I can do about that,” Hamilton said.

Red Bull have brought a series of aerodynamic upgrades to their car during the season. Mercedes is bringing a further development to its car at the British Grand Prix, though team principal Toto Wolff has said it will not be a major change.

“We have a little bit coming, but it’s not going to close the gap enough,” said Hamilton. “So we’ve got to do some more work.”

Having dominated the 2020 season, Mercedes have found themselves under fierce pressure from Red Bull this year. Hamilton has made regular visits to the team’s factory to contribute to the team’s development efforts, and is hopeful for a more competitive showing at his home race in two weeks’ time.

Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Gallery: 2021 Austrian Grand Prix in pictures
“I’m praying for a different scenario in the next race,” he said. “But you look at their car, it’s just on rails.

“We’re giving it absolutely everything this past two weeks, I’ve been to the factory each week trying to extract as much as I can from the car.

“Our car just doesn’t go well here for some reason. I really hope that it does in these next ones.”

The two teams were more closely matched in the opening rounds of the championship, said Hamilton, but Red Bull have pulled ahead over recent rounds.

“It’s a shame it’s not as close as it was at the beginning of the year, but that’s the way it is.

“We’ve still got a lot of races ahead of us so we just have to just keep our heads down and just keep plugging away.”

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2021 Austrian Grand Prix

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91 comments on “Hamilton doubts Mercedes’ British GP upgrade is enough to close gap to Red Bull”

  1. I prefer Ham winning every week over his narrative every week. I thought him winning year after year after year after year was somewhat boring, but his narrative is far worse. So RB has won a handful of races, like 1% of what you’ve been winning the last decade.

    1. @Mayrton Red Bull only wins because of the FIA 2021 rule change so i can fully understand where Lewis is coming from. The FIA benefit Red Bull’s outdated high rake concept to handicap Mercedes low rake floor concept which the FIA succeeded in doing so, let’s not pretend as if the FIA 2021 rule change isn’t the reason why Red Bull is ahead which people like you love to ignore to overhype your Max.

      1. @noname you copy and paste the same comment at every post?

        1. @notacop Yes i will repeat it as much as possible so you people know where Red Bull’s sudden advantage comes from because people like you seriously think that Red Bull suddenly “out-engineered” Mercedes out of nowhere, the FIA 2021 rule change is the reason for Mercedes having it difficult right now, don’t get it twisted.

          1. Lol then we can say that Mercedes had benefited from the old rules for many years. We need a few more years like this just to make it equal.

          2. Jesper (@jesperfey13)
            5th July 2021, 17:23

            The rule change was meant to slow the cars down for the tyres Pirelli is offering. not to slow mercedes and tbe low-rake cars down.

            Not even the experts knew what the consquences were gonna be for the teams. It just turned out like this. You are just connecting dots that aren’t there.

          3. @noname I don’t know how long you’ve been watching this sport, but rule changes to end one team’s domination are nothing new. Mercedes aren;t being singled out any more than Lotus, Williams, Ferrari or indeed Red Bull have been in the past.

            If I had your attitude I’d still be annoyed about the “driver aids” ban in 1994 or even the ban on ground effect in the 80’s that stopped Williams domination (twice).

          4. I guess RBR’s update made Hamilton
            – crash in Imola
            – fall far behind his team mate in Monaco
            – flip a switch in Baku
            – take 0.6 sec longer in pitlane despite the limiter in France
            – qualify behind his team mate 1 out of every 3 quali’s (since 2019)
            – finish behind his team mate 1 out of every 3 races (since 2019)

            Lewis has a lot more worries than just RBR’s car

      2. I really do like the way You complete ignore the fact, that the rake change was voted for by every single manufacturer, and before real results came in after this season’s start, everybody expected the low rake to be coming on top of this change.

      3. You’re delusional. Before the pre-season test it was simply unknown to the teams knew who would ‘benefit’ the most.

        It’s only in hindsight it can be speculated that the change in floor regulations may have had more of an effect on the low-rake Mercedes than the high-rake Red Bull. Before the test, there were two competing theories about the way it might play out between the two philosophies and the teams had no way of knowing which would hold true, as they only have data on their own cars.

        One theory said that the high-rake machine, in working the aerodynamic surfaces harder around the back of the car, would take more of a hit when a crucial chunk of those various surfaces was removed and that the low-rake car, conceived to give a better spread of downforce across the range of operating conditions and with lower peaks, would be more tolerant of the floor chop.


        1. @montalvo Yeah thanks for that link. I was going to say, but it has been pointed out in your reference, that last year RBR had struggled in their rear, which had showed that high rake wasn’t necessarily better, obviously compared to what Mercedes have been doing all along too, and I remember it being debated here that perhaps Newey had taken them down the wrong path with high rake, and comparing to Mercedes’ example. As the article points out, RBR changed their suspension quite a bit for this year. I remember being concerned last year upon hearing of the floor change because I thought they were already struggling at the back end, and taking more downforce away with the floor change would harm them more.

          @noname If you want to go down that path need I remind you of the massive rule changes for 2014 that stripped the competitiveness completely away from RBR after their 4 year run and handed it to Mercedes?

          1. @robbie I want to go that path, let’s go. The 2014 rule changed were pushed by Red Bull and Renault, they pushed for the V4 engines which Ferrari vetoed and Red Bull/proposed the V6 Hybrid engine. Mercedes had nothing to do with the regulation chance and the rest is history.

          2. @noname https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.bbc.com/sport/formula1/13878359.amp

            Not quite. I know you are trying to make it sound like Red Bull asked for these changes and so to your thinking they can only blame themselves for the 2014 rules changes and the demise of their winning run. But of course it is far far more complicated than that, and of course if it was just up to Red Bull there would have been no changes at all. As if they would push for their run to be interrupted. And to say Mercedes had nothing to do with it is being naive for of course they were involved in the discussions all along.

            None of this changes the fact that the floor changes from last year to this were meant to reduce the forces on the Pirelli tires, were very minor relative to the vast changes for 2014, and were not meant to halt Mercedes’ run. They were meant to ensure the Pirelli tires weren’t overburdened.

        2. Your argument of which team was to benefit from the rule change, is trying to deflect NoName argument that only reason RB is suddenly miles better was because of the rule change.

          1. It’s only a theory. Not a fact. Repeating nonsense does not suddenly makes it true.
            The change in front wing in 2018 hurt red Bull more then Mercedes. The tire changes in 2019 hurt red bull more then Mercedes.
            Red bull upped his game to overcome all those deficits. The way faster and stronger Mercedes engines gave them a deserved advantage. But now Honda is on par the accusations are a normal Toto reaction.

        3. @montalvo Exactly! The technical expert at The Race (I’m drawing a blank on the name) said the same thing. To me, it seemed that the consensus was that the rule change will hurt high rake teams more. If I recall correctly, Aston Martin only started complaining after testing.

      4. Wow, you are one sad and bitter person. Like, how many times did you have said the same thing? In the same thread even. And it is a silly point of view also.
        Get a life buddy. And stop trying to convince yourself that your idol might not be a half god.

      5. And Mercedes only won so many years in a Row because Bernie helped them.
        Red Bull might only win one season and Mercedes the coming years again..

        1. I really don’t think Bernie did something like that Ronny, given he’s been moaning about the 2014 rules since far before they came in and far after they proved to not be so much worse than the blown exhaust RBR era (but longer lasting). The FIA, and Mercedes working towards those rules from ~2010 onward while the others fought for the championship, yes. But not Bernie.

  2. Lewis… You and Mercedes need to cut out the mistakes a bit. You should have won in France and (arguably) Baku and Imola.

    1. I agree. Lewis can still recover but Merc are serial offenders when it comes to strategy so this year is a goner.

    2. Not on pace on baku however, on pace it seemed like a 3rd place.

  3. Easy put the Engine Lando gets in the Mercedes . Apparently Merc gets B spec engine and Lando gets the best. Perhaps Lando is going to Mercedes for 2022?

    1. @Pat No, he won’t join Mercedes next year. Russell is the one who’s set to replace Bottas based on pretty much all reports and sources. Lando is under contract at Mclaren until 2024 anyway, so he’s unlikely to leave anytime soon.

      1. I did not agree with his aggressive move on Perez but Lando is proving to be a generational talent and a future Champion in the right car. I do not remember Max being special without a front running car.

        1. Your memory doesn’t go further back than this year?

        2. ian dearing
          5th July 2021, 14:41

          Don’t worry. If someone else other than the RB get a head start next year like Merc did with this iteration of cars, many others will be agreeing with you. Max who?
          And if RP hit the jackpot with the new cars I’ll be the first of many saying ‘I always knew Seb still had it.’

        3. Verstappen was very special without a front running car, in 2015 he did great stuff in the toro rosso, which was a midfield one, in 2016 he immediately won on red bull the first chance he got, and went on to comprehensively outperform ricciardo on his red bull years, ofc red bull wasn’t a terrible car, but also wasn’t the best and he occasionally split the mercedes even when they were dominant like in 2020.

        4. I do not remember Max being special without a front running car.

          Each time I promise myself not to comment on ridiculous posts, another one comes along to push me over the edge. Are you trying to wind us up? Or are you trying to match the anti-Lewis brigade? Seriously!

  4. I know Lewis is up against it this year, Redbull have the better package just now and he gets constantly asked questions about his championship challenge – but he really seems to be giving off an unnecessarily negative vibe in a lot of his comments. He has to emphasise at every opportunity that Redbull has the better car, and that there’s nothing he can do about the situation. On weekends like this and last that was probably true (in terms of challenging for the win), but the truth is that if Lewis had been as faultless as he was through most of the 2017-2020 seasons there would likely be very little between him and Max in the drivers’ standings.

    It’s also unknown how Mercedes’ upgrade will impact overall performance, and how the relative car performances will change in upcoming tracks either. Street tracks and high altitude tracks have been good hunting grounds for Redbull for a few years so there’s every chance Mercedes will be back in the mix at many of the more traditional circuits still to come.

    1. Well, he of course gets asked every time if he thinks he can threaten Verstappen the way things are going. I’d be surprised to hear him say something else. Max has up until this year always said that Mercedes is just too strong. I don’t think it’s negative, it’s realistic.

    2. ian dearing
      5th July 2021, 14:47

      No different to Max setting fastest lap after reporting a tyre issue, saying its not as easy as it looks out at the front, and not dismissing Mercedes from the fight. It comes with the territory. The Max and Hams of this world could be lapping everyone every 10 laps and they will be still be concerned about a host of issues and pushing others in the team to do better. It’s what makes them who they are.

      1. I feel like that is slightly different. Talking up your opponents when you’ve just won a race comfortably shows you aren’t being complacent about it, and are conscious that things can change very quickly. Hamilton’s comments are talking down his own chances and the potential of his team to be able to up their game and consistently challenge again, despite this not being guaranteed at this stage – “We have a little bit coming, but it’s not going to close the gap enough.” That just seems unnecessary when you are in the unfavoured position and should be trying to motivate your team as much as possible.

        I guess some of his comments grate on me (and others) a bit because he’s complaining that Verstappen is “pretty much just cruising ahead”, when so much of the past 8 years of this sport has been him doing exactly that. This championship is far from over and there is still potential for Mercedes and Hamilton to turn it around, so I would rather his comments focused on the positivity of a new challenge that he was so enthusiastic about just a few races ago, than sounding defeatist so early in the season when they have upgrades in the pipeline.

        1. @keithedin I agree and as I have said before it is like LH needs to play the sympathy card. Woe is me.

  5. I doubt Hamilton in current state is good enough to beat Max. He is whining and making errors. Too bad would be fun to see a close fight.

    1. @maxv You mean the FIA changed the 2021 rule change to benefit Red Bull’s high rake concept and that’s the only reason why Red Bull and Max are ahead, nothing else, so get of your high Horse already.

      1. @noname in that case: FIA favored merc engine for 7 years, get of your high horse already..

        1. @noname is only repeating himself… over and over and over again…
          just ignore him

        2. @maxv If you knew anything about the 2014 rule change than you would have known that Red Bull/Renault pushed for these hybrid V6 engines. But of course your knowledge about F1 is very poor so you don’t know any of that.

      2. @noname You have made your personal opinion clear, and while of course it has happened in the past that reg changes have taken away a team’s advantage and stopped their run, we have seen that this change has been quite minor compared to vast changes that have been made in the past, and as well Mercedes still has a win capable car this season and is well ahead of everyone else besides RBR. And that could change yet. They may still find some things and get more competitive.

        1. Rodric Ewulf
          5th July 2021, 23:04

          @noname is never tired of bringing exaggerated comments, half truths, or simply lies, especially when it involves his denialism of Lewis doing an inferior job than Max this season and Mercedes propaganda. Copy/paste the same arguments over and over again even when they were already refuted as many times is very telling.

          1. Okay, that’s the sort of overblown opinion that gets a similarly geared, but biased towards Hamilton guy like noname to trigger; it’s not more true just because you aren’t repeating the same block of text. It has been clear for years that Bottas is a great qualifier, so that he, unlike Verstappen’s recent teammates can actually challenge HAM there is not a solid indication that Hamilton isn’t doing well; and the mistakes might be similar to Red Bull last year having a lot of spins – Bottas is resigned to being beat it seems, while Hamilton tries to wring more from the car, and sometimes fails, because it wasn’t always in there, or not where he’s looking.

            Yes, Verstappen is doing (barring a few smaller mistakes that cost him pole etc. but not much major) everything he can to make sure that HAM has to fight hard if he is to have a chance of winning the WDC, and so far succeeding in making it look like an uphil climb.

            I don’t get why HAM cannot be allowed to say that, when asked @robbie? Like Verstappen at times in the last few years was frustrated haven given it everything, but not having the car to really take the fight to Hamilton. Don’t see a big difference, though I do admit that they way they say it is different. Verstappen has this ‘need to man up’ stuff that his father encouraged in him though by now he’s better with admitting to the outside when he made a mistake (a sign of confidence in himself, to me), while Hamilton has this way of making it a more emotional thing (which I get, isn’t what some like, but still).

      3. So the 2021 rule change made Lewis go visit the gravel in Imola ? It made Lewis qualify 5 tenths behind Bottas in Monaco ? It made Lewis touch the magic button in Baku ? It made Lewis damage his floor in Austria ?

  6. I pretty much ignore everything Hamilton says, he often says the exact opposite of the truth. Toto was joking about next weeks upgrade coming that they were going to blow everyone away, normally I would take it as exactly that.. A joke.. But who knows with Mercedes, they might have been working on introducing a big upgrade since the start of the season.

    1. I agree but Lewis has comme back from scenarios like this one.
      The problem Merc have is that Max is another story entirely.

      1. @macradar You mean Red Bull is another story entirely after the FIA changed the 2021 rules to benefit Red Bull’s high rake, let’s not twist the facts.

        1. Repeatedly talking nonsense doesn’t make it true.

        2. Yes @noname please don’t twist the facts.

        3. Agreed, stop talking rubbish. You’re the one twisting the facts @noname

        4. @noname Just like the FIA changed the rules mis season on the rear wings to benefit Red Bull and are changing the rules mid season on the pit stops to benefit Red Bull…. Oh wait, they don’t! Stop speaking out of your backside, deal with the fact that the championship is going to be challenged this year (we’re 8 races into the season, so just over a third, I won’t say over).

          The fact of the matter is that due to the rules and regulations, that from 2014 until 2017 there was little the PU manufacturers were able to do to boost the power of the Power Units to catch the Merc PU, which gave Mercedes a huge advantage on the PU front.

          Changing the ruling on the floor last season was not done to affect any team more than any other. The aero on each car is so complex, it would most likely be impossible to predict the outcomes of what would have been happening.

          Finally @noname the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.

    2. I think it’s brilliant he’s been knocked down a peg. Would rather see VES win this championship.

      Always whinging and whining. No that they’ve lost their massive engine advantage they’ve had for the last 7 years and they’ve lost their precious DAS from last year. Didn’t want another Hamilton snooze fest.

  7. petebaldwin (@)
    5th July 2021, 14:18

    I’m honestly amazed that he’s talking like this constantly. I’d have thought he’d be talking about what a great job Max was doing to at least keep up the pretence that his recent Championship wins were won because of his supreme skills… Instead he says things like “Max will have an easy win this weekend” and “he’s just cruising up front so there’s nothing I could do about it.”

    Surely he must have enough self-awareness to know that downplaying the achievements of someone in a dominant car reflects badly on his own career? I appreciate he’s probably just in a bad mood and is having a bit of a moan about the season but come on man – think about what you’re saying!

    1. ian dearing
      5th July 2021, 15:03

      You mean like RB praising Ham every other week? All I seem to remember is a dismissive meh; party mode, and cries for parity. Anyway, if Max does cruise to the title, I’m sure those who pointed the finger at Ham these last few years will be doing the same to Max. Won’t they?
      But seriously, he has praised Max all season. You really want him to go through the obvious lie that Max and the RB had a battle on their hands at this track?
      Its one of the things I’ve admired about Max last year and this season. He has stopped buying into the Horner’s nonsense about being hard done by, and instead got on with the job of pushing the team.

      1. if Max does cruise to the title, I’m sure those who pointed the finger at Ham these last few years will be doing the same to Max. Won’t they?

        You of course mean as you will praise the supreme driving skill that obviously was the main reason for it as you’ve done the last years with Hamilton?

        1. ian dearing
          5th July 2021, 16:23

          I will carry on praising Max for his ability to get on the throttle quickly coming out of the corners, also his ability to rotate through the short corners, etc. as I praise Ham for his ability to balance the car through the long corners and change of direction as I do Perez. And for example as I praise both Ham and Max for the risks they take in P1 and P2 at Sochi T8-10 to get the line early. In the same manner as Ive praised Max for his critical approach to his driving and his own teams performance in recent weeks.
          I’ll leave it to others to tell me how brilliant they were when they disappeared into the distance and were hardly featured in the broadcast.

          1. Thank you.

          2. Well said, both times. Let’s just enjoy the reasons we think they both (as well as their teams) are good; I tend to leave the off-track stuff aside, b