Lewis Hamilton thinks the Brazilian Grand Prix is Mercedes‘ last great hope for a 2022 race win, as he fights to keep his 15-year F1 winning streak alive.
However, he conceded the team’s focus was on their 2023 challenge and that it’ll still be an uphill battle to take the win at Interlagos.
“My focus is maximising the next two races,” Hamilton told the press. “I think us as a team is focused on making sure that we have a car that we can compete with next year.”
“Out of the next two races, this is the best option we’ll have, the closest I think we’ll be. I think next one with those long straights will be difficult to be tough.”
Mercedes have won in every season of the turbo-hybrid era and the win streak stretches back two years before that as Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took wins in 2012 and 2013.
But that run, and Hamilton’s record of a win in every year of his F1 career, is under threat as Mercedes have just two opportunities left to take victory.
Mercedes’ surprise package
Most worryingly of all for Mercedes, Hamilton said he still he doesn’t know what to expect from the car 20 rounds into the season.
The team have been reasonably consistent throughout the season – George Russell has only finished two races outside the top five and the team have enjoyed a run of 12 podiums in 13 races starting at the Canadian Grand Prix.
But the car has been wildly unpredictable, it was machine most affected by porpoising and has had balance issues when Mercedes least expected them, while Hamilton and Russell have been struggled to push the car to its limits.
“Every time we arrive at a track we’re surprised one way or the other,” Hamilton added. “Like how big the gap is, or how close we are. So I won’t know till tomorrow where that is, I don’t know if the car will be spectacular here.
“I don’t know if we will be as close as we were last race, I don’t think we will but I hope we’re surprised and it’s not the case.
“But we know where our car is going to work and what corners it won’t work. And so I anticipate it’s not going to be the easiest on track.
“And there’s weather there’s all sorts that could come into it.”
However, that last point may not prove to be quiet so comforting. Red Bull have outclassed Mercedes on strategy calls over the past two seasons, led by Hannah Schmitz.
Mercedes were outmanoeuvred at the Dutch Grand Prix costing them a win, and were saddled with a bafflingly slow strategy in Mexico that cost them any chance of competing.