Hamilton targeting victory in 2023 as Mercedes look to return to the top

Hamilton last won a race at the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP

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Lewis Hamilton says he is not ruling out winning a race in this season’s Formula 1 championship, but admits that it is a tall order considering Red Bull’s dominant pace.

The Briton has not climbed to the top step of the podium since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, despite coming close to victory on a handful of occasions in 2022.

The run looks likely to continue as Max Verstappen finished around 35 seconds ahead of Hamilton at the Belgian GP, before he pitted for the fastest lap attempt, despite starting from sixth.

Despite the gap, the man with 103 race wins and seven Drivers’ Championships is not abandoning hope of returning to the top step of the podium this year.

“At the moment I am not entirely sure that we can compete with Red Bull‘s race pace,” Hamilton said to media. “I think in Hungary, Max was faster than everyone by about eight tenths over a single lap but never say never until the end.”

Hamilton proud of the team

At the season opener, Mercedes finished well off the pace of the Red Bull and were considerably slower than Ferrari and Aston Martin.

It was a huge set-back for the time that had felt like they were getting somewhere at the end of 2022 with their ‘no-sidepods’ concept that saw them finish 1-2 at the Brazilian GP.

The Brackley team, however, debuted a B Spec chassis at the Monaco GP after admitting they were anticipating a sub-par W14 challenger in the wake of the W13.

Following the entry of the W14b, Hamilton has recorded three podiums in seven races, including a shock pole position at the Hungarian GP, and the Brit is proud of his team’s progress.

We didn’t start off where we wanted to at the beginning of the year, but we made a lot of progress.” Hamilton added to media. “We have grown over the course of the season.

“I hope there will be a lot more in the second phase with all the hard work that goes on during the winter. We started further back so it was a big steep climb, but I am really proud of the team.”

Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the 2023 Spanish GP
2023 Spanish Grand Prix, Saturday – Jiri Krenek

Does this season bode well for Mercedes in 2024?

It’s important to remember that the latest car from Brackley is still infused with the DNA of the W13, which Mercedes have admitted they got wrong.

With James Allison at the helm, who directed the development of the impeccable and all-conquering W11, the team is eagerly awaiting their W15 product and the potential that it could have

But even with the constraints of 2023 and the W13 identity in mind, Mercedes are still the second fastest team on average, with 247 points, five podiums and one pole position.

They’re still finding results with an idea they’ve abandoned but can’t change, due to the constraints of the regulations.  

Their rivals are free of such problems. Aston Martin took a huge leap forwards and McLaren finally got the concept they wanted on the board at the Austrian GP, while Ferrari have remained at the same relative level as the Silver Arrows.

But Mercedes have had their hands tied and once they are free to do as they wish, can they close the gap in 2024 and begin their pursuit of Hamilton‘s record-breaking eighth world championship?

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

F1 will return from its summer break with the 2023 Dutch GP from Zandvoort on August 25-27, where championship leader Max Verstappen will be racing on home soil.

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