Lewis Hamilton held "big, big talks" with Mercedes as the team was left clueless about how to improve its wretched cars at the start of this year.

Mercedes began the season with a W14 which looked worryingly like its predecessor. The team stuck with its "zeropod" concept, adamant that it would be able to unlock the pace potential within.

But all it took was one race for them to give up on it. After the Bahrain Grand Prix, team principal Toto Wolff admitted that wholesale change was needed if his team was to get anything out of the season.

And Hamilton says he knew even earlier that things were not going to go well. "I remember it feeling exactly the same," he told the BBC, referring to his impressions of the W14 after its shakedown session at Silverstone in February.

"That definitely was not a great feeling. I really had high hopes... In February, when we do a download of where the car is going, I was a little more apprehensive, because the previous year it was like, 'The car is amazing, it's unique, no-one's going to have anything like it'.

"And then we get to the first test... So, I was a little bit more cautious when I was listening, and I was like, 'We will see'. And then the car had all these problems. I just knew it was going to be a long year."

Fast-forward a couple of weeks to that first race in Bahrain and his worst fears came to pass. He took aim at his Mercedes team in the aftermath of that weekend, accusing them of not having listened to his input on the car, and has now doubled-down on that belief.

Referring to "big, big talks" he had with the team, Hamilton continued: "I'm sure there were frustrations, because I had asked for certain changes, and they weren't done... No-one knew exactly what the problem was - no-one knew how to fix it.

This article contains affiliate links, we will receive a commission on any sales we generate from it. Learn more
Watch F1 live

Catch all the action from Formula One on Sky Sports and get exclusive access to races, qualifying and much more for every Grand Prix. From Max Verstappen to Lewis Hamilton, you won't miss a lap on Sky Sports.

"Having the experience of the previous year, I just applied myself, in terms of digging down, sitting with the guys. We were having much better meetings. I was able to stay a lot more positive during the year and be like, 'It's going to be a long season, but let's not give up. Let's keep pushing towards getting the maximum out of the car, whatever that may be'.

"I think for this year they thought, 'The fundamentals are good and we just have to go here'. And it was not the case. That's why I was frustrated in February, because they hadn't made the changes I'd asked for.

But we didn't have a North Star necessarily at the beginning of the year, knowing exactly where we need to work towards. It's been kind of a zig-zag line trying to get to where we need to be. Every now and again, something positive happens. You're like, 'Okay, that's it'. And then it shifts, so the goalpost is always moving, which is typical."