Lewis Hamilton asserts he’s not been “dazzled” by Mercedes’ late-season momentum but accepts that the team securing second in the championship is “important”.

Mercedes introduced a revised floor at the United States Grand Prix that Hamilton described as being “one of the first upgrades that I’ve actually felt over the last two years.”

The Briton has utilised the Brackley squad’s last big update to its W14 car to comfortably secure successive second places on the track in both Austin and Mexico City.

But Hamilton is cautious regarding Mercedes’ chances heading into the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, admitting that he is expecting Red Bull and Ferrari to be quick.

Asked about his expectations for the weekend, Hamilton said: “I don’t really know. I expect the Red Bull to be very fast, as always! It seems to work pretty much everywhere, except for Singapore.

“And we expect the Ferraris to be quick. I hope that our car works well here like it did in Austin but you can just never predict – it could be bad, it could be good. So we’re just trying to prepare the best way we can.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. 29.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Race Day.

Despite team-mate George Russell struggling with overheating brakes, Hamilton’s charge to second saw Mercedes only lose one point to Ferrari in Mexico.

The German marque currently upholds a 22-point advantage over its Italian counterparts, but Hamilton asserts it will require a monumental effort to keep Ferrari at bay.

“It’s a really fun, enjoyable battle and these guys did a great job in qualifying at the last race but fortunately we were able to leapfrog them but I think it’s going to be close,” he noted. “Theselast three races, it’s going just take all hands on deck to stop these guys.”

Amid Red Bull’s comprehensive domination, Mercedes are on the brink of ending the second year of the latest ground effect regulation era without a single race victory.

Hamilton concedes he has not been blown away by Mercedes’ recent gains amid concerns the Silver Arrows enjoyed a similar rate of progression at the end of last year.

Asked if Interlagos, where Russell led a Mercedes 1-2 last year, represented its best chance of a win across the remaining three rounds, Hamilton replied: “I said it’s not easy to predict. I really don’t know.

“After the last couple of races, you get messages from people like ‘oh, it’s looking good’. I’m like ‘it was looking good at the end of last year, too’. But we started 1.5 seconds behind at the start of the year. So I’m not dazzled by where we are currently.

“I’m proud… the only reason I’m on the podium is the great work that’s gone in the background, but I’m more thinking quite long-term at the moment. And then short-term just trying to solidify second in the Constructors’ because that’s so important for everyone within the team.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton relays that he is determined to guarantee that he is again in prime position to pick up the pieces if Red Bull’s pace is not as strong as he anticipates.

He added: “But I anticipate the Red Bulls are going to blitz it because their car has been great but if that’s not the case, then I’ll be ready to take the fight to them.

“If it can be anything like Austin and we can get the strategy better than that would be incredible. And I came away empty-handed last year, so I don’t plan on that this year.”

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