May 28, 2024

Despite Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification, Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, has characterized the United States Grand Prix as the team’s most impressive performance of 2023, attributing it to their genuinely fast speed.

Rewind to the end of October, and the Silver Arrows approached the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) with optimism, having implemented a new upgrades package. Fortunately, the package proved highly effective, making Hamilton a serious contender for victory.

In the event of an additional lap, Hamilton would likely have surpassed the three-time World Champion. However, his disqualification for a too-low car cost him second place and 18 points. Fortunately, this setback did not affect Hamilton or Mercedes in the final season standings.

While it may seem peculiar for Wolff to praise a weekend where Hamilton faced disqualification as the team’s best, it is justified. The Silver Arrows arguably had the fastest car at COTA, a distinction they couldn’t claim at any other race in 2023.

Mercedes appeared to unlock significant performance that weekend in Austin, Texas, with the positive data collected possibly informing the development of their new concept for 2024. After numerous upgrades in 2023 that offered marginal improvement, it was a gratifying moment for the Brackley-based team to see a new component perform exceptionally well.

Wolff explained, “This might sound strange because we got disqualified, but Austin! We brought an upgrade package that worked, the car was performing well, and we were hunting down the leader. You could say, ‘Well, you were disqualified for a car that was too low,’ but the genuine performance was there, and that was an enjoyable weekend. I’ve always said that I’d rather have a fast car that we haven’t tuned in the right way. And obviously, you need to finish. But that was the best weekend overall, seeing that the correlation between the wind tunnel and the track was good.”

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