Hamilton may finally get Verstappen revenge after Wolff’s comment
Chris Evans says Max Verstappen needs to 'be a bit nicer'
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There is plenty of optimism within the Mercedes camp ahead of the 2023 F1 season, and team principal Toto Wolff’s latest comments reinforce that.
Pre-season testing began in Bahrain today as the teams hit the track looking to reach their optimal level in time for the season opener on March 5. While Max Verstappen topped the charts with the fastest time of 1:32.837, Mercedes had an encouraging start despite what the timesheets read like.
Lewis Hamilton finished the day P6, sixth tenths behind leader Verstappen while teammate George Russell was 1.3 seconds off the pace in ninth. Despite finishing behind the Dutchman and both Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, the Silver Arrows’ team principal is happy with what he has seen and is excited for the future. The commens will delight the Brit, who is seeking revenge over his Red Bull rival.
“You need to provide a good car for a driver that has the ambition to win races and championships and we have that,” said Wolff. “We want to win. At this stage last year, we knew we were in trouble because the car was bouncing around and we were not able to drive it correctly.
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“But today, it is very different. The car seems to be balanced in the right way. There is no bouncing which is good news. It is a good starting point. We have had a productive morning.” Though spirits are high around the team, there is still the issue of Hamilton’s contract with the seven-time champion yet to sign an extension.
With the F1 icon heading into the final year of his £40 million-a-season deal, the belief is that a new deal will be signed. “I am amazed because Lewis has been with the team for 10 years and every year he just come backs more mature, more professional and more understanding of what is good for him,” the Austrian continued. “He is in high spirits and super-determined.”
On a bumpy track, the new W14 didn’t appear to suffer from any bouncing, one of the team’s big woes early on in the 2022 season. With they will hope that issue is firmly in the rear-view mirror, the Brackley-based outfit will now focus on gradually improving their performance and lap times.
“Mercedes have to be one of the biggest stories of the winter because they’ve got such a long way to make up,” Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz said. “Nine, 10 months of development after last year’s car didn’t work out.
“The car looks good so far, none of the bouncing we saw last year but they’ll know more after today.” Both Hamilton and team-mate Russell will be keen to make their way up the time sheet as pre-season testing continues.
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