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Lewis Hamilton hopes car upgrades will be ‘start of a new path’ for Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton has expressed cautious optimism that his Mercedes team are on the right track in terms of improving their car after a miserable start to the 2023 Formula One season.

Mercedes have already admitted they are to abandon their current car concept to adopt a new approach in an attempt to catch the championship leaders Red Bull and Hamilton believed his team were at least on the road to recovery.

Speaking before this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where Mercedes have brought the first of what is expected to be a swathe of small developments to the car, Hamilton was encouraged by the direction the team were taking and hopeful that the car might demonstrate it in Baku.

“I think it will be an upgrade, naturally, but I think it will be kind of the start of a new path for us,” he said. “It will be at the core still the same car, but part of the path of getting where we want to be.

“We’re not going to hit the ground and be where we wanted to be at the start of the season, we’re not making up that crazy ground that there is but I think it’s really positive, that so much great work has been done back in the factory to make time to progress in the right direction.”

Hamilton scored Mercedes’ first podium of the season at the last round in Australia but the team did not read too much into the result, believing it was likely track specific. They are third in the constructors’ championship, nine points behind Aston Martin and already 67 behind Red Bull who have a dominant car, with Max Verstappen leading the drivers’ championship. Mercedes are expected to bring their first major development of their car’s new concept to Imola in May.

F1 is adopting its new sprint race weekend format in Baku, with qualifying for the GP on Friday and then a standalone qualifying and sprint on Saturday, limiting practice to only one session. Hamilton remained hopeful Mercedes could at least get among the front runners, while welcoming the introduction of four competitive sessions over a weekend.

“The last race was really great for us, we worked hard to get that sort of result,” he said. “It won’t be easy to do that again, the Ferraris will be quick, the Red Bulls, the Astons. I just hope we are in the mix and with the shake up of the whole weekend, it’s probably the most exciting weekend so far.”

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( With inputs from : www.theguardian.com )

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