Hamilton fires warning to Verstappen after suffering Mercedes setback
Lewis Hamilton on difficult season for Mercedes in November
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Lewis Hamilton has warned dominant F1 star Max Verstappen that he is determined to win again, in spite of Mercedes’ worrying recent performances. The Brit also claims that his team’s lack of pace came as a ‘shock’ this year, based on the murmurs going around during the off-season.
Hamilton’s last Grand Prix victory came in Saudi Arabia back in 2021. By that time, the Mercedes star was fighting for his eighth world title as a regular fixture at the top of the F1 podium.
Verstappen would go on to win that season’s Drivers’ Championship in dramatic fashion, and Mercedes’ inability to keep pace with their rivals during the ground-effect design era has left Hamilton chasing an elusive victory for the past 15 months.
The seven-time world champion’s younger team-mate, George Russell, clinched Mercedes’ only win last season with a monstrous performance in Brazil, while Hamilton had to settle for second place.
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Despite Verstappen topping the charts again this season and Red Bull proving to be a cut above, Hamilton is determined to remain positive. “I will win again,” he stated. “It’s just going to take some time. Of course in 2021 when we were here [in Saudi Arabia], we were hoping to be fighting for another World Championship. You know, you never know what’s up ahead.
“There will be things that happen in all of our lives that we least expect. But it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up. It’s how you deal with it. It’s how you show up. It’s how you continue to remain positive and tackle the issues that you’re faced with. And so that’s where my energy is going. And that’s what every single person in the team is focused on.”
Hamilton added that Mercedes’ troubling lack of pace in 2023 came as something of a surprise based on what team members predicted before the start of the season. The Silver Arrows went against the grain by using a skinny sidepod design since new regulations were introduced last year, although the decision has backfired.
Once they managed to get porpoising under control in 2022, they recovered to become competitive in the latter stages of the season. But team boss Toto Wolff has already committed to radical design changes in light of this campaign’s underwhelming start, which leaves Hamilton fighting an uphill battle to end his winning drought.
“I think the comments that I would hear [during the off-season] is that we probably won’t hit the ground straight away at the front but we should be there or thereabouts,” said Hamilton. “So yeah, it was a bit of a shock when that wasn’t obviously the case.
“I knew that we weren’t in the right place. When I saw the car for the first time, it still looked so much different to those of our competitors. And it’s always nerve-racking at that moment. But it looked nice. Obviously, the colour looks nice, but I honestly don’t care what colour it is as long as it’s quick. But we will hopefully mould it into a winning car at some stage.”
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