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Formula 1 British GP

Hamilton: Red Bull lookalike McLaren an F1 wake-up call for Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton reckons the star performance of ‘Red Bull-lookalike’ McLaren in qualifying for Formula 1’s 2023 British Grand Prix should serve as a “wake-up call” for his Mercedes team.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

Lando Norris missed out on pole position by 0.241 seconds to Max Verstappen in the dying moments of the top 10 shootout. He will start from second place ahead of rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri, who leads the second row of the grid.

Meanwhile, Mercedes managed a 6-7 result. George Russell pipped his seven-time champion stablemate Hamilton by 0.056s but the pair ended up over 0.4s adrift of the pace-setting RB19.

Hamilton revealed that he was not surprised by the result from McLaren, which has used the Silverstone weekend to introduce the second part of a three-stage upgrade package that team principal Andrea Stella reckons will change almost every aerodynamic part on the MCL60.

Asked for his reaction to the McLaren showing, Hamilton said: “Not surprised. I mean, if you look at the car, it makes sense. I'm really happy for them.

“They've had such a bad run for so long, so to be back up there is really, really great to see.”

When pushed to elaborate on why he thought it was logical for McLaren to run Red Bull so close, Hamilton said the two cars had similar-looking sidepods.

He continued: “If you just put it alongside a Red Bull, it looks very, very similar down the sides. It's working. It is great.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, arrive in Parc Ferme at the end of Qualifying

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, arrive in Parc Ferme at the end of Qualifying

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“We now have another team up in the mix, which is what we want to see in this sport.”

Previously in 2023, the fight for second place behind Red Bull had largely been between Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mercedes, with the order changing from round to round.

But the emergence of McLaren, Hamilton added, was now a “wake-up call” for Mercedes as the plight of the eight-time constructors’ champion during this ground-effects era continues.

Asked if the McLaren result was a blow, Hamilton said: “It's not a blow. It's just a wake-up call for us. Others have overtaken us, and we need to do more.”

He added that Mercedes should anticipate being behind McLaren in the race as well. He continued: “Of course, I'll try and be optimistic and do our best.

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“But realistically, I'm not sure. We will find out. It was difficult to get past two Ferraris and then we've got two McLarens out there. It's going to be a tough race.”

Hamilton also brushed off his Q1 spin into the gravel at Stowe plus running side-by-side with 2021 title rival Verstappen during an aggressive out-lap in damp conditions.

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