Lewis Hamilton has downplayed his points deficit in the Driver Standings to Mercedes teammate George Russell ahead of the 2022 US Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.
The seven-time world champion trails his teammate by 27 points after 18 races and is on the verge of registering his first winless season since joining Formula 1 in 2007, but admitted he has been hampered by his attempts to understand the issues that have plagued the Mercedes W13, particularly in the first half of the campaign.
“I think we’ve learnt so much through the data,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1’s Naomi Schiff.
“I’ve tested everything on the car, I’ve tested every setting that you can possibly test on the car 100 times, and I’ve paid the price for it through the first half of the season.
“But for me that was about gaining knowledge for the team so they could literally tick off the box and say that does or doesn’t work. I felt like that was really my role.
“Yes, I’m behind in points, but it’s the bigger picture. I hope that that work will impact us better for not only the remaining races this year, but into next year, in terms of where we steer, because I’m a part of that rudder, in terms of steering us in the direction.
“I hope so much that we can fight back next year, and we just have to speak it, and work it, into existence.”
Can Mercedes join 2023 title fight?
Such has been Mercedes‘ deficit at times this year, it seems unthinkable that the Brackley-based outfit could compete with Red Bull and Ferrari in 2023.
However, Team Principal Toto Wolff is full of optimism, insisting the eight-time world champions have finally solved the puzzle that has been the W13 and that their dominance has merely been “interrupted.”
“The puzzle is complete,” Wolff told Formule1.nl. “The reason we didn’t perform as expected this year is that we didn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together.
“Believe me, this is not the end of our dominance, this is just an interruption.”