Lewis Hamilton finished second at the Malaysian Grand Prix, 12.77 seconds behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
Although his second place extends his lead over Sebastian Vettel in the championship to 34 points, Hamilton is frustrated with the issues he faced during the race. Therefore, he has made it clear to his team what he wants from his car for the next round of the Formula 1, at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Sunday.
Mercedes expected to be strong in Malaysia, but they had problems with their car all weekend.
They brought aerodynamic upgrades for that race. But not only did the performance not improve, but they had issues with balance, set-up and grip. Their pace was behind Red Bull and Ferrari.
With five races remaining, Hamilton seems to know direction the team should go in order to help him win fourth title.
What Hamilton has said to Mercedes
“I have suggested what I want to do at the start of the next race and what I need, because I am in a battle for the world championship,” he explained, per The Guardian.
“So I have told them what I feel is the best way to start the next race. I am happy that the team is now pumped up to pull together and will try and see what we can rectify with the package we have.”
Hamilton was passed by Verstappen on lap four and given his pace, he seems pleased with the race outcome.
“I am really happy with my performance, how I executed the race,” he said.
“The long game approach I took, I believe, is the right one. There was no need for me to battle with Verstappen who was much quicker and risk colliding with him and ending my race.”
He was confident that the tyre temperature issue which appears central to the car’s grip and its performance would be mitigated for the next race this weekend.
Mercedes’ executive director, Toto Wolff, confirmed that conditions at Sepang played a key part in their problems.
“Lewis extracted the maximum in qualifying, benefiting from cooler temperatures and on one lap he is a real force,” Wolff said.
“On one lap the underlying problem we had in the car was not as obvious as it was during the race. The race was very hot. For me it was a very painful Sunday.”
Hamilton struggled with his car before, at Russia and Monaco, but the team felt they had solved the issues and Hamilton won four out of five grands prix.
Until the Monza race, Vettel had led the championship, but Hamilton took a 28-point lead after the German crashed out on the first lap in Singapore.
However, Malaysia proved that Mercedes need to take care of their car in order to win the title race.