Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes ignored him over the development of this season’s Formula One car.
Seven-time world champion Hamilton finished fifth in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, over 50 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen.
It was a sobering result for Hamilton, who complained before the race that Mercedes are on the “wrong track” and “either third or fourth”.
“Last year, there were things I told them. I said the issues that are with the car,” Hamilton told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Chequered Flag podcast on Wednesday.
“I’ve driven so many cars in my life. I know what a car needs. I know what a car doesn’t need. I think it’s really about accountability.
“It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work’,” he said.
“We’ve got to look into the balance through the corners, look at all the weak points and just huddle up as a team. That’s what we do.
“We’re still (multiple) world champions, you know? Just haven’t got it right this time. Didn’t get it right last year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get it right moving forwards.”
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said in Bahrain that the Silver Arrows, who won eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships prior to last season, will have to abandon their controversial zero-sidepod concept in order to challenge again.
Most of the grid have followed the design philosophy pioneered by Red Bull last year when Verstappen dominated – and Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell has predicted that the Dutchman’s team will win all 23 races this year.
Wolff said: “We have lost a year in development. In order to have a steeper development curve, you just need to take these decisions. Aston Martin took that decision and they came back strong.
“If we start from our base, maybe we can come back strong and chase the Red Bulls. That’s the ambition.”