Lewis Hamilton has claimed Mercedes still relies on Red Bull and Ferrari to secure podiums in a worrying admission for the Silver Arrows. The seven-time champion said the team still needed Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc or Carlos Sainz ahead to retire to claim top-three finishes despite the team’s progress.
The Mercedes star stressed this shows the team still has “a lot of work to do” across the second half of the season. Speaking to Sky Sports, Hamilton said: “Can’t say that we’ve turned a corner, we’ve been on the corner for ages and we’ve been progressing around it slowly.
“Silverstone was a great fight and we’ve had really great consistency. In the last race we looked like we took a step back from the others or they took a step forward again. So over single lap [we] had a deficit of almost a second.
“But our race pace is a little bit better than our qualifying pace and our reliability has been exceptional. That’s been very positive. We’ve also relied a lot on the others not finishing and I think that overshadows the fact we have a lot of work to do.”
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Hamilton has scored five podiums this season but almost all have come at the expense of issues to one of the two Red Bull or Ferrari drivers. In Bahrain, Red Bull suffered a double retirement in the closing stages which denied Verstappen second.
Leclerc was unable to challenge near the front due to a grid penalty at Canada where Hamilton picked up third. Verstappen was forced down the field after picking up early at Silverstone where Hamilton secured P3 in front of home fans at the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s next podium came at Austria after he benefited from Sainz’s late engine blowout. Then in France, the Mercedes star took advantage of Sainz’s penalty on Saturday and Leclerc’s crash to move into the top two.
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Similarly, George Russell has picked up three podiums purely down to reliability issues for other drivers. He picked up P3 in Australia after Verstappen suffered a blowout and in Spain after Leclerc was forced out.
The Monegasque driver suffered a similar issue just weeks later in Azerbaijan where Russell also secured P3. However, Hamilton appeared to suggest Mercedes were making progress with their package ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
He added: “I’m enjoying it more just because I’m getting in a much better place with the balance of the car and a much better place with where we put the set-up. Bono and the rest of the guys are definitely a little bit happier working with the car.”