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Hamilton hopes for five-way championship battle in 2023

The seven-time world champion has high expectations for next season

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Despite struggling through a winless 2022 season, Lewis Hamilton is optimistic about Mercedes’ chances this year. 

Race winner George Russell was joined by teammate Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz at the Sao Paulo GP (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The overhaul of technical regulations produced a distinctly underwhelming season for Mercedes in 2022. After winning eight consecutive constructors titles from 2014 to 2021, the Brackley-based team only managed to win a single race.

Mercedes may have one of the strongest driver pairings, but their recent issues led to them falling behind. 

The W13 suffered from severe porpoising for the first part of 2022. Whilst Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen battled, Hamilton and George Russell were held back. 

Hamilton’s dreams of more competition

Following his team’s frustrating 2022 season, the Brit is hopeful for significant improvements going into this year.

As reported by Formula 1, Hamilton stated:  “I’d like to think that we’re going to be the ones that are competing with them and being able to beat them [Red Bull] again, I do believe that for sure.”

“But I really hope that Ferrari are strong in the following years,” he continued. “They’ve definitely had a difficult year but there’s been some strong signs, obviously, that you’ve seen this year, which has been nice to see. And it’s been nice to see Ferrari doing well again.”

Mercedes were not the only team to struggle in 2022. Ferrari fell apart when it came to strategy calls, and the championship rapidly slipped away.

Nevertheless, Hamilton expressed his belief that the battle to be the best will be much closer:

“I hope that it’s more than a two-way battle next year. I hope there’s at least three of us. If not, surprisingly, maybe more. Like, why can’t McLaren be there? We’ll see. Or even Alpine’s been doing amazing. So, we’ll see.”

If Mercedes manage to get back to the front, Hamilton explained that Toto Wolff will play a notable role.

“Toto is very focused as a leader to really elevate people.

“That’s who Toto is. So I think it’s that, and because of that, there’s a real general hunger within the team.”

Wolff and Mercedes are more sceptical than Hamilton

The Austrian team principal labelled 2022 as a “complete disaster” and clarified that the team can only move forward.

“For me the perspective or the planning is not about the short-term, it’s not about a race, even a season or two or five,” he said.

“It’s about I would like this team to constantly develop to be chasing for race victories and championships every single year but not taking it for granted, not having any sense of entitlement and if I hear us talking it almost sounds like the complete disaster of all seasons… it felt like it and I think this is the right feeling.

“But we finished third in the Constructors’ Championship, we were very close to Ferrari, we won a race, we had 10 plus podiums. Whatever happens at the beginning of next season it’s going to be another building block for the success of this team.”

Technical director Mike Elliott also warned against expecting too much before the season begins.

“I think the interesting thing is how we move forward from here,” said Elliott in a season review.

“I think we’ve got to maintain that scepticism and be honest with ourselves that we were behind at the end of the year.

“And while I think that we’ve made good progress through the year and I am really pleased with the culture I have seen and the attitude, we will only see the return on that next year.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

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