Despite his illustrious Formula One career lewis Hamilton may see a number of his records smashed by arch rival Max Verstappen during the 2023 season.
Should Verstappen be triumphant this weekend in Hamilton’s back yard of Silverstone he will have won six consecutive races. Lewis best run is just five in a row which he’s claimed twice during both the 2014 and 2020 seasons.
Verstappen to smash Hamilton records
Should Verstappen win the 2023 British Grand Prix he will equal Michael Schumacher’s effort during his first winning year with Ferrari and sit just three more consecutive race victories behind the all time record of nine held by Sebastian Vettel from is 2013 title campaign.
Whilst Lewis Hamilton has claimed repeatedly throughout his career he has no interest in records a pre-race piece he did with Sky F1 this year reveals otherwise.
Attached to a lie detector Hamilton was asked a number of questions including whether he wants to remain in Formula One until he claims the record eight F1 drivers’ title. Lewis replied, “yes.”
Of course that decision is beyond Lewis’ gift to deliver and even Mercedes’ look as though they will struggle to beat Red Bull until at least when the next big regulation change occurs for the 2026 season.
Lewis wants Red Bull handicapped
Prior to the Austrian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton suggested to assembled media that the FIA consider putting a stop on the current era of “F1 superteams.”
“It’d be cool to see in the next 20 years that we don’t have huge bands of time where one team leads too far ahead, because we want to see better racing,” said Hamilton.
Hamilton bemoaned the fact that Red Bull are now so far ahead in both F1 championships they can switch their time and resources to their 2024 challenger without the concern they can be caught this year.
Lewis believes the FIA should set a deadline which before no team can begin developing their next seasons car. Even though the FIA have brought in an annual budget cap on what teams can spend, it does not determine whether it is spent on this years car development or the next season’s challenger.
“And with a budget cap that means spending that year’s money on the next year’s car,” added Hamilton.
FIA president say Mercedes had their time
However the president of the FIA, Mohammed ben Sulayem, has moved quickly to distance himself from Hamilton’s suggestion. He believes there should be no intervention to nobble a dominant team and it is the others who need to get their houses in order.
“If we go about what´s good and bad we´ll open the door [to manipulation],” Ben Sulayem told The Associated Press. “I mean, was it good for Mercedes? Fair enough?”.
“It is (Verstappen’s) time, it’s Red Bull’s time. What do we do and punish the good kid? No, let’s go and make the other teams good. Nobody’s stopping the other teams from being better.
“We cannot punish people for being better, for trying harder. That is unfair.”
F1 reject Hamilton’s “manipulation” idea
Not often are the FIA and F1 on the same page, but Ben Sulayem’s comments are I line with those issued earlier by Stefano Domenicali who ruled out “manipulating” the rules to allow Red Bull’s rivals to catch up.
“It’s not correct because we cannot be seen as part of manipulation,” said the F1 CEO.
“This is not correct, and this is not fair. I am not imagining at all this kind of approach.”
The rest of the bigger teams are very close. Some weekends Mercedes are best of the rest while other times its Aston Martin or Ferrari. Even when none of the front midfield teams are ahead of the rest, the difference in single lap pace is often less than a tenth of a second as Domenicali observes.
Horner believes Hamilton hypocritical
“We need to consider that they [Red Bull] did an incredible job. It is true that the gap seems to be big, but we need to be prudent, because we know in life things can change very quickly.
“The others are very, very close. If you look at the gaps to the other teams, I think that they [Red Bull] did an incredible job, [and it] needs to be rewarded.”
Christian Horner ridiculed Hamilton’s attempt to manipulate the current order of the F1 grid. The Red Bull boss mocked Hamilton for being a hypocrite given the uber dominance he enjoyed with Mercedes.
“He’s obviously talking from personal experience,” said Horner.
Tough to police F1 ideas
“I think it would be an incredibly hard thing to police. How on Earth could you say: ‘Right first of August, go.’
“How do you prevent people thinking about or working on next year’s cars?
Horner properly notes that F1 has introduced a handicap system which restricts heavily the amount of aerodynamic testing the leading F1 team is allowed.
Handicap system will work longer term
“We have a handicap system in Formula 1 through the reduction of wind-tunnel time. Franz [Tost and the AlphaTauri] team have almost double the amount of time that we have,” said Horner.
“That is a significant handicap, and I think Aston Martin will start to feel that when it is the reset at the mid point this year.”
At the cut off point for the last 12 months Aston Martin were in seventh place in the constructors’ table but as the guillotine fell on 30th June they are now third and will lose around 25% of the aero testing they’ve enjoyed over the past twelve months.
Lando Norris believes Formula One has always had a team that dominates.
“I get you have Red Bull and you have Max dominating. But it’s kind of almost always been one team that dominates it in a way. It used to be McLaren for a bit, then it was Ferrari for a bit, then it was I was obviously Mercedes. And now it’s Red Bull.
A first win on home soil that @LewisHamilton will never forget 🇬🇧💫
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 6, 2023