After finishing a distant fifth with teammate Russell seventh at the Japanese Grand Prix, Hamilton said Mercedes need to deliver the “greatest six months of development that we’ve ever had” if they are going to be able to fight with Red Bull in 2024.
Suzuka exposed the weaknesses of Mercedes’ current car concept, something seven-time world champion Hamilton was quick to point out during the weekend.
“There are things that I’ve asked for that we’ve gone in part of the direction for next year,” Hamilton said after the race, before adding: “I think all the points that George and I give have been fully listened to.”
Discussing the challenge Mercedes faces for next year, Davidson told the Sky Sports F1 podcast: “The good thing is, is that both drivers have quite similar demands from the way the car feels.
“We are hearing that the Ferrari drivers, for example, [Carlos] Sainz and [Charles] Leclerc, their styles are quite different apparently and that makes it very difficult for the team to know which direction to go in, in terms of aero shaping, or mechanical design.
“It really does compromise things. So I think part of the luxury Mercedes have is that both drivers are singing the same song here, in terms of where to take the car.”
Fellow Sky pundit Bernie Collins agreed: “You do need buy-in from the drivers because you are going to make such a big change.
“You need to get them onboard, they need to be working with you, spending time in the simulator, giving good feedback and really involved in what you are trying to do.
“It does sound like Lewis and George both are onboard that they are going to turn this around, progress and bring it forward.”
However, Davidson also warned that the relationship between Hamilton and Russell will change as Mercedes’ competitiveness improves.
“I think it clearly would [change],” he explained. “It becomes much more personal and much more competitive when you are fighting for a championship, rather than the positions they were in the Japanese GP.
“Yes, you always want to beat your teammate. But you have more of a valid reason to fight team orders when you are going for a championship.
“We’ve seen it with the Ferrari drivers and the McLaren drivers this season, where things get a bit too close for comfort and the team have to step in and say ‘think about who you are driving for here and what the ultimate goal is’.
“Well, when you are fighting for a world championship yourself, that’s your goal. So it’s a real catch-22. Are you doing it for yourself or the team?
“When you are not fighting for a world championship yourself then you sort of slip back into a more ‘yeah, let’s do this together, work together for the greater good’.”