Lewis Hamilton Reflects on Challenges and the Road Ahead After Japanese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, the man synonymous with F1 racing dominance, is calling for an unprecedented overhaul in Mercedes' development to bridge the widening performance gap with rivals, chiefly Red Bull.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Lewis Hamilton Reflects on Challenges and the Road Ahead After Japanese Grand Prix
© Getty Images Sport/Clive Rose

Lewis Hamilton, the man synonymous with F1 racing dominance, is calling for an unprecedented overhaul in Mercedes' development to bridge the widening performance gap with rivals, chiefly Red Bull. Reflecting on the recent Japanese Grand Prix, where he clinched a fifth-place finish, Hamilton voiced his concerns candidly.

Despite qualifying seventh, he found himself 1.031s slower than the trailblazing pole-sitter, Max Verstappen. "It was crazy and worrying," Hamilton described, stressing the intensity of his efforts to surpass competitors, particularly a surging Ferrari team that had just rolled out a fresh upgrade.

On the intense challenges faced on the track, Hamilton remarked, “I mean I’m exhausted for one, fighting the car, fighting with absolutely everything I have... They have been quicker the last three races, it was a hell of a fight”.

He likened his recent racing experience to last year, highlighting the car's problematic handling as it "felt just the same as last year, bouncing and sliding."

The Future Beckons: Hamilton's Hopes for 2024

In a sport as dynamic and technology-driven as Formula 1, the significance of continuous improvement cannot be overstated.

When questioned about his influence over the 2024 Mercedes car, Hamilton shed light on the collaborative approach. “There are things that I’ve asked for... I think all the points that George and I give have been fully listened to”.

However, uncertainty looms about next year's prospects. “I have no idea where the car is going to be next year," he admitted. But amidst the ambiguity, Hamilton's fervor and commitment to the team shone bright. He stressed the necessity for the next six months to be Mercedes' "greatest six months of development," emphasizing the need to catch up with and possibly outperform rival teams like McLaren. "But the evidence is there with the McLarens, and we can’t turn a blind eye to that," Hamilton added.

In spite of the hurdles, Hamilton's unwavering faith in Mercedes is palpable. Addressing the team's prowess, he noted, “We’ve always been great at putting downforce on the car." He believes that with the right tweaks and a shift in philosophy, Mercedes can reclaim its spot at the zenith.

He signs off with a resonating declaration of trust: “This is a world championship team; we still are an amazing team. I have absolute faith in everyone but decisions that are made in this period of time are critical to our trajectory”.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Red Bull
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