Lewis Hamilton has likened the next stop on the F1 calendar in Imola to a step into the unknown for his Mercedes team.
Mercedes will bring their first upgrades of the season to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after a fluctuating start to the season.
And Hamilton said the team had no idea quite how much of a benefit the facelift of the W14 would have on him and teammate George Russell.
The seven-time world champion said of the Imola upgrades: “It’s all a bit of an unknown. It’s not like I have a second’s worth of upgrade which is what I need but it’s something and it’s a step in the right direction of us to really be able to progress.”
Hamilton endured a difficult weekend at the Miami Grand Prix. He failed to make the third session of qualifying but climbed up the grid to finish sixth, which he described as “good points for the team”.
The 38-year-old looked well off the pace in the early stages of the race, struggling to get past the Williams of Alex Albon before climbing well into the points.
Afterwards, he said: “It was difficult at the start being in the DRS train with a bunch of cars. Eventually I was able to start making headway. The car came alive a bit midway through the race. To get from P13 to sixth, I’m pretty happy with that.”
In contrast to Hamilton, Russell finished fourth, which he described as “the maximum today – it was a good day at the office”.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had been fuming about the state of the car in the aftermath of qualifying.
And he downplayed the step the team could potentially take at the next race in two weekends’ time.
He said: “I hope that in Imola, we are going to make a step. We are glass half-empty people but we’re establishing a new baseline.”