Last F1 season, Lewis Hamilton battled to the end for the title. This year, the British driver is going through a more complicated season. Sixth in the overall standings, the Mercedes driver has already said goodbye to the Formula 1 title, but can still hope for podium finishes and perhaps even a win. And to achieve this, Lewis Hamilton has sent a clear message to his team along with a very strong demand for next year’s car, detailing exactly what he needs.
Last year, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen had a sensational duel throughout the F1 season. The seven-time world champion came back to a tie just before the start of the final Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi, but failed to get past the Red Bull driver on the final lap. This year, however, it is completely different.
While Verstappen is still going strong and is well on his way to winning his second consecutive world Formula 1 drivers championship, Lewis Hamilton has been out of the running for a long time with a poor car and, certainly at the beginning of the season, questionable driving prowess with the appearance of a demotivated ‘no 1’ for his team.
It must be said that the seven-time world champion has had a very difficult start to the season, notably because of the new regulations introduced by the FIA. A change that aims to cap the budget of the teams in order to reduce the gap between the different teams and tighten the race for the title. This has had a major impact on Mercedes’ car design.
At the beginning of the year, as well as floor that produced extreme bouncing, the German team had to deal with a number of problems with its tyres, which quickly compromised Hamilton’s chances of winning the title. But lately things have been much better, with the British driver even finishing second at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
If Hamilton is now sixth overall, he can still hope to finish in the top 3 if the stars align. And if he has been able to bounce back in this way, it is also because Mercedes has shown great reliability, unlike Ferrari for example. Indeed, the German team’s drivers have finished every race this season, with the exception of the British Grand Prix.
However, Lewis Hamilton is asking for more:
“We are still lacking performance, that’s what’s difficult. I think this car has potential, but we had to reduce the power to prevent bouncing. We have very good reliability, but we can’t depend on reliability forever to be on the podium,
“We really need performance,” Hamilton told new Finnish channel Viaplay consultant Heikki Kovalainen, his former McLaren teammate, in an interview.
Lewis Hamilton is hopeful of a strong finish to the season, but he also hopes Mercedes can make the necessary changes for next year:
“I really think there’s the potential to win races, and I hope every weekend, every week, that they find something that gives us a little bit more aero support without the hassle,
“It’s a hard thing for the team to do, but nobody gives up. We have to admit that the others have done a better job; their philosophy, whatever it is, is working well,
“We have to be aware of that and move on. We can’t be stubborn and say “no, the way we do things has to be right and it will work out”, because we could wait for years! We have to be quick, concise, humble in our approach. I think we will be.”
Hamilton then went on to put pressure on his team, with some strong messages about how things are within Mercedes, and how he needs them to change for next year:
“The conversations behind the scenes… You know how the engineers are, there’s a lot of pride in everybody’s work, and that’s legitimate. I really hope we can get a win this year, I really believe in it. But a win is not enough for us, that’s not what we work for,
“Hopefully we will be in a good position for next year. At the moment, when I talk to the team, I tell them what I don’t want and what I need next year on this car. I’m trying to show them the way to make sure they deliver that next year.”