Hamilton still feels a 'disconnect' but senses opportunity for Mercedes to close Red Bull gap
Lewis Hamilton still does not feel comfortable in his Mercedes but has renewed confidence the team can fight to challenge Red Bull after a strong showing at an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix.
In a race that saw three red flags at Albert Park, Hamilton finished second behind world champion Max Verstappen, who has won two of the opening three races in the 2023 season.
Hamilton consequently returned to the podium for the first time since the penultimate race of the 2022 campaign in Brazil.
The Briton said he is still trying to get a connection with the car, but feels the team have an opportunity to narrow the gap to the dominant Red Bulls.
"It was [a crazy race]. I have had the best week here this week," Hamilton said.
"I still feel uncomfortable in the car, I don't feel connected to it so I am driving as best I can with that disconnect and I am working as hard as I can to try and create that connect but it is a long project.
"But still, considering we have been down on performance and the straight pace compared to the Red Bulls, for us to be up here fighting with Aston, it is just amazing at this point in the season.
"We have got to keep on fighting. Big, big thank you to everybody back at the factory, let's keep pushing.
"If we can close that gap, it is going to be tough, but it isn't impossible."
Team-mate George Russell lost the lead amid the drama of the first red flag and later had to retire with a power-unit issue.
Hamilton added: "It was really unlucky for George. On our side, we have got to look into our reliability, which has generally been really good, so that is really unfortunate.
"Otherwise to get those points is really amazing. I definitely didn't expect to be second. So I am super grateful for it."
On his disappointing premature end to the race, Russell said: "Yeah, I guess when it's not your day, it's not your day, and pretty disappointed initially with the decision to red flag the race.
"Everything we've done this weekend has been good: qualifying was great, the start was great, the restart was great, the strategy decision was the right one. It's just such a shame to be stood here right now."