JULY 7, 2024

No regrets for Hamilton as Ferrari backtracks

As the team he prepares to leave locks out the front row of the grid at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton insists he has no regrets about his impending move to Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton, British GP 2024
© Mercedes

Lando Norris is rapidly becoming Max Verstappen's only real rival for the 2024 title, but the McLaren driver has two silver cars ahead of him on the British GP grid.

I never thought I'd say this, said Red Bull boss Christian Horner, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Hamilton. Mercedes are hurting us less in the world championship than McLaren.

Championship leader Verstappen damaged his newly-upgraded floor in the slippery qualifying conditions, and is just fourth - immediately behind Norris.

Luckily, struggling Sergio Perez is running the old floor this week, meaning Verstappen will have the spare fitted to his car for Sunday's race.

Either way, we will have a functioning floor for Max, Red Bull consultant Dr Helmut Marko said.

He admits that, even without the damage, the improving Mercedes cars would have been ahead anyway. They have bigger wings than us and more downforce, Marko said.

The surprise news is that Mercedes finally seems to be getting a handle on the troublesome 'ground effect' regulations after more than two years of struggle.

In contrast, Ferrari decided to backtrack to the Imola-specification car, admitting that the subsequent upgrade has proved too difficult to run at Silverstone.

For this track, we decided to take a step back, confirmed Charles Leclerc, in a lowly P11. "We'll see later on which direction to take.

The main problem apart from the bouncing is that we are simply slow. Really slow.

Mercedes' sudden leapfrogging of Ferrari has caught the attention of Leclerc's job-hunting teammate, Carlos Sainz, who is once again being linked with a move to Brackley for 2025.

It is interesting to see how far Mercedes is ahead of us, the Spaniard said.

"The others are developing well and we had to go back to the package from Imola. When you take a step back like that during development, you always suffer.

The Imola package is not faster, but it's better to drive, Sainz added.

Hamilton, however - P2 behind his on-form teammate George Russell - insists that even if Mercedes were on the upswing at the end of last year, he still would have signed with Ferrari for the future.

Yes, was all the seven time world champion would answer on Saturday.