(Motorsport) After a disappointing season for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in 2022, the two were hoping for a significant improvement this time around but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Silver Arrows saw their eight successive constructors’ titles coming to an end last season following Red Bull Racing’s dominant year while Hamilton failed to win a single race throughout the season for the first time in his career.
If that wasn’t all, the trend continued at the Bahrain Grand Prix in the opening race of the 2023 season as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finished first and second while Hamilton finished 50 seconds behind the reigning champion in 5th place while his teammate George Russell ended up in 7th. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that the team had got the concept wrong and it needed to be changed to salvage their season.
In an interview on Thursday, Lewis Hamilton said “In hindsight, I think looking back it wasn’t necessarily the best choice of words. Of course there are times where you’re not in agreement with certain team members, but what’s important is that we continue to communicate, continue to pull together. I still have 100 per cent belief in this team, it is my family and I’ve been here a long time, so I don’t plan on going anywhere else.
“But we all need a kick, we all need to get on – the proof is in the pudding, we’ve seen where the performance is and how people are extracting the performance, and we’ve got to now start making some bold decisions, some big moves in order to close the gap to these guys. Hopefully at some point during the year, we’re hopeful we might be able to close the gap but at that point it will be probably too late in terms of fighting for a championship, but we can still turn some heads hopefully.”
Hamilton has also been under scrutiny about his future in Formula 1 as his contract expires at the end of 2023 despite both the driver and team insisting that an extension is just a formality. The 38 year old said that there are no performance clauses that are impacting the negotiations and ongoing talks are revolving around working together to make an impact with off-track initiatives.
Hamilton said “There are no performance clauses. We are in talks, just in the process of going through the motions of what that looks like, what the future looks like, what we want to do. (We are) always looking to continuously challenge ourselves rather than just doing a driver’s contract like everyone does.
“What can we do? We did the Ignite partnership last year on how we can promote diversity within the sport, just exploring different avenues and what else we can do. I’m fully integrated within Mercedes-Benz. I’ve been with them for such a long time, since I was 13, so I’m very proud of the brand and the business, what they do, what they stand for and the impact they have throughout the world, but you can always do more, so discussions are around what else we can do together to lift people up.”
Also read: Charles Leclerc incurs grid penalty in only the second race of 2023 Formula 1 season