“This is one of the first upgrades I have actually ‘felt’ over the last two years, so that’s a positive,” says Lewis Hamilton after Mercedes’ new floor helps him take third in qualifying; F1 now set for Sprint Saturday: Sprint Shootout at 6.30pm and the Sprint at 11pm
Last Updated: 21/10/23 12:51am
Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes’ upgrade at the United States GP has helped the team “level up pretty much everywhere” after he vied for pole position and qualified third in Austin on Friday.
Mercedes have brought an updated floor to this weekend’s Austin race and, although the team have played down its absolute significance, Hamilton was nonetheless in strong form from the start of Friday’s action-packed running on a circuit where he has won a record five times.
That front-running form also bodes well for Saturday’s standalone Sprint events, when Hamilton will attempt to go better than third in the Sprint Shootout at 6.30pm and then 19-lap Sprint race itself at 11pm – live on Sky Sports F1.
“A good session,” said Hamilton, who finished 0.139s away from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on pole.
“Really grateful for the improvements the team have made with the car. Everyone has worked so hard to bring these upgrades.
“For us to be this close to McLaren and Ferrari and even the Red Bulls, it’s a showing of how hard everyone has worked.
“The car feels almost the same. It’s just levelled up pretty much everywhere.”
Speaking to F1, Hamilton added: “We are just generally a little bit faster than we were before but unfortunately not quick enough to get the Ferrari or the McLaren. But we’ve got to keep pushing and I know that’s what everyone’s doing.”
Mercedes described the floor update as the “last significant” development they would bring to the W14 over the final six weeks of this season, with James Allison saying it would help with understanding
“I don’t know really if it’s a signifier of anything for next year. As we continue to experiment, we get more and more knowledge of where we are going and where we are routing the flow of the car.
“The floor is not a huge amount different. There is always hype with someone’s upgrade but the rest of the car is exactly the same and there are lots of areas where we can improve but this is an improvement.
“This is one of the first upgrades I have actually ‘felt’ over the last two years, so that’s a positive. We just need two or three times of this step to put us in a super-competitive mode, of which I believe the guys can do.”
When to watch the US GP and F1 Academy finale live only on Sky Sports F1
Saturday October 21
- 3.30pm: F1 Academy Race One
- 6pm: US GP Sprint Shootout build-up
- 6:30pm: US GP Sprint Shootout
- 9.15pm: F1 Academy Race Two
- 10pm: US GP Sprint build-up
- 11pm: US GP SPRINT (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
- (Sunday) 12.30am: Ted’s Sprint Notebook
Sunday October 22
- 3.30pm: F1 Academy Race Three
- 6.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: US GP build-up
- 8pm: THE UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
- 10pm: Chequered Flag: US GP reaction
- 11pm: Ted’s Notebook
Watch Formula 1 return to Texas for the United States Grand Prix and another Sprint weekend live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW