Mercedes brought the latest iteration of its floor design to last weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin as it continues to chase improvements that will not only yield lap time across 2023’s final races but will also stand it in good stead for next year’s car design.
Like its predecessor, the W14 has been a tricky beast to tame for Hamilton and team-mate George Russell, who have both battled through various degrees of lacking confidence in the car through high-speed corners.
Hamilton explained that the Austin floor upgrade was worth at least as much lap time from the driving side as it delivered from the increased rear downforce itself.
“Maybe it was [worth] only a tenth [as an] upgrade, for example, but there was at least a tenth of confidence that it gave me,” the seven-time world champion added.
“So, it’s quite interesting what you see when you do have those, it’s like a double knock-on effect.”
Team principal Toto Wolff called the floor upgrade an “interesting experiment” in the Brackley squad’s process of putting together next year’s machine.
“It was directionally an interesting experiment, whether it would work,” he added.
“It gives us more indications; were we on the right path for next year’s car?
“The update directionally functioned from the get-go. Lewis said he feels the rear end. George never kind of got to the point where he said the car was good. We need to learn about that, that is such a factor.
When asked if Hamilton’s love for Austin’s Circuit of the Americas also contributed to a standout performance, Wolff replied: “Lewis was always very strong in Austin. And when he’s on a roll he’s unstoppable.
“But I wouldn’t think that we would have such a performance, just because it’s one of Lewis’s good tracks.”