Hamilton back in “shooting range” to take second in championship from Perez

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says his Mexican Grand Prix result has improved his chances of taking second in the championship this year.

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In brief

Hamilton giving his “best shot” to take championship runner-up spot

Hamilton cut his deficit to second-placed Sergio Perez to 20 points last weekend by finishing second and setting the fastest lap on the way. It was an important gain after he took just 11 points from the previous two rounds having crashed out of the Qatar Grand Prix and been disqualified in Austin two weeks later.

But he says his chances of finishing second in the championship are “mostly dependent on Checo’s weekends” as Mercedes have trailed Red Bull in performance all year.

“They have the championship-winning car,” said Hamilton on Sunday in Mexico. He’s just been unfortunate, I think, in some scenarios. Obviously I’ve lost quite a lot of points in the last two races but he lost points today. So it’s swings and roundabouts.

“I think coming into the weekend, having lost points last week, I didn’t think I would really be in shooting range particularly but after today, yeah, we’ll just give it our best shot.”

However the seven-times champion admitted “it’s not going to make a big difference to my life whether I come second or third. It’s more important to get the team second in the constructors.”

Albon pleased to salvage points from lack of pace

Alexander Albon says Williams “didn’t quite have the pace” to be competitive on race day in Mexico despite adding to his points haul.

“Two points, very happy,” he said. “I think it was a great race for us. We had a different strategy to most people, I think we were actually making it work quite well.

“I saw the Safety Car, and thought that was perfect, we’d get a free pit stop. And then it turned into a red flag, and that was actually one of the worst things that could have happened. We ended up losing all the advantage, we pitted a lap before the red flag so we basically lost about five or six positions.”

Albon said he took good advantage of both standing starts. “We had two very good starts today, made good positions, and salvaged some points so I’m very happy. I think we had a race where we didn’t quite have the pace, we were managing quite a lot and we had quite a good race.”

Goethe expected to fight for 2023 FIA F3 title after Euroformula success

Oliver Goethe admitted he expected a better result in FIA Formula 3 this year after dominating the 2022 Euroformula season. He came a distant eighth in the standings with two podium finishes and nine non-scores in a row.

“I expected to fight towards the top,” he said. “I was in a top team with Trident and I knew I was capable of fighting towards the top. The pace was really, really, really strong at moments, so I was expecting to be there. Ideally, I would have liked to be up there a bit more in order to fight for the championship. In the end, it was a very positive season, many ups and downs but good positives to take.”

“It was strange because I was struggling quite a lot at testing in Bahrain,” he added. “So I did a lot of sim in between that and worked really hard. Then the weekend in the end went very well. I was one of the quickest drivers and I was P2 in the championship at that point, so it gave me a huge boost as it was a strong start to the season.”

He admitted he was surprised by the downturn that followed. “At that point, I thought I would be in the title fight I’m not going to lie, but the next few rounds after that I struggled a bit. There were a few mistakes from my side, a few unlucky moments and just not putting it all together.”

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Comment of the day

What did last weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix reveal about the strengths and weaknesses of different Formula 1 cars?

Some qualifying data:

Most of the data is pure, due to everyone choosing a clean-air run, except one…

Mercedes was in the middle of the pack at the finish line, but dropped to a lower position at the end of the straight. This indicates a draggy car. Compare that to the Alpines, who are down on power: They’re slow on the main straight everywhere.

Haas were at the top of the speeds, but still slow over a lap, so there is more than just the straight line speed to be considered.

Also noteworthy is that Ricciardo was slow at the finish line, but the fastest at the end of the straight due to the tow from Tsunoda. The others that were in a slipstream during the race went also a lot faster at the end of the straight, but lost on initial acceleration.

Happy birthday!

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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26 comments on “Hamilton back in “shooting range” to take second in championship from Perez”

  1. I’m still positive about Checo keeping P2.

    1. Based on performance I’d say he is toast. He has the fastest car, but Mercedes have certainly made a significant step forward, and I have to say Lewis has found another gear too. A bit like Max after Baku, he has adapted to the car and is showing some great drives the last weekends. If that holds up Sergio is in real trouble, as I can’t see him raising his level too. Same goes for George really. The really great drivers are destroying their respective team mates. They can adapt to the car in a way to maximize performance, while the second drivers seem to be stuck in their racing style and can only hope the car is suited to it.

      1. They can adapt to the car in a way to maximize performance, while the second drivers seem to be stuck in their racing style and can only hope the car is suited to it.

        It’s funny how people can come to this conclusion, while simultaneously flat-out rejecting the conclusion that the car is being adapted to match (or at least exploit) a certain driver/driving style – at the expense of the team’s second driver.

        If Red Bull needed Perez for either championship, I’m willing to bet the car would be a bit more friendly to his driving style.
        With Verstappen driving at his current level and the team able to give him such a well-tailored car that is clearly faster than the rest, they have no need to sacrifice anything to assist the other driver.

        1. Now I think about it, perez was pretty close to bottas level in 2021, and indeed they needed him that season, so I guess the car was more friendly to his driving style.

    2. Hamilton will keep scoring consistently, it is up to Perez whether he can keep in the on the road and score points every race. If Perez keeps a cool head I don’t expect Hamilton to outscore him. I suspect if Hamilton outscores him, they will replace Perez in case there is more level competition for manufacturers championship next year.

  2. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    31st October 2023, 11:34

    If Hamilton gets the maximum out of his car, and Perez gets the minimum out of his then Perez should be safe. it’s just somehow Perez is getting less than the minimum out of his Red Bull.

  3. What DOES a driver actually receive by getting “Second”? Bragging rights? Braggimg rites?

    1. Vice Champion of the world.

    2. In this case, beating the constructor’s champion in a decidedly inferior car.

      The RB19, in Max’s hands, has been untouchable all season except for Singapore. The W14 has been a temperamental pig with unpredictable setup. If Hamilton beats Perez in that, Hamilton will take immense satisfaction from it.

      Add to that the fact that Horner keeps banging on about Red Bull has never taken 1-2 in the driver’s championship, and I expect Wolff will give Lewis a bonus. :)

      1. Ahah, agree about the bonus by wolff! And I remember a similar case where verstappen got close to doing this but didn’t manage: 2020, with again a very dominant mercedes and a horrible bottas, he was in the fight for 2nd till the end.

  4. have to giggle at that photo with Max’s expression :) Of course Lewis is his target. Hopefully, he’s starting to realise there can be more to ‘achievement’ than going round in circles the fastestestest

  5. You have to say Hamilton grabbing the fastest lap, was an oversight by Max, who probably thought he had it in the bag. Hamilton waited for the car to get lighter, didn’t leave any clues he would be going for it, then maximised on the mediums innate pace advantage over the Hards.

    As for Hamilton adapting to the car, [comments earlier] that’s actually a good shout. At the start of the year Hamilton was still talking of not feeling the car, eg being too far forwards. Just look at him now, and we can only imagine what he’ll be like when they sort out the new chassis next season. I think that correct will pay off when it comes to qualifying and really taking the car to its absolute limits.

  6. I think Perez would easily get second in the WDC if Max plays the team game and lets Perez get ahead in a race whilst he holds up the Mercedes behind him,… but can anyone honestly see Max doing that?

    1. No, I would be surprised if verstappen does like schumacher in malaysia 1999.

  7. You want a crazy rumour thats going around.

    Fernando Alonso to Red Bull in 2024 in place of Perez.

    1. Mmmm yes please :)

    2. That would be nice, while beating verstappen is a tall order, would be interesting to see alonso with a top car again.

    3. Crazy rumour #2.

      Audi could be looking at backing out of entering F1.

      There’s been a bit of a shakeup on the board with a new VW group CEO as well as a new Audi CEO who are getting cold feet over the amount of money been spent on the F1 program during a point of cost savings been needed across the company as a whole.

      1. And BTW the Audi rumour is coming from a very credible source in the German media.

        1. Yeah those two been doing the rounds on GP blog for a couple of weeks, along with Stroll supposedly divesting himself of AM shares with the F1 team to suffer the same fate

      2. Does F1 sell more cars? There doesn’t seem to be much correlation, and more and more are going to be electric anyway. It seems to be better at selling other things

    4. And you know Alonso won’t settle for 2nd place just because Max is going to throw a strop.

    5. Would absolutely love it but what are the chances?

  8. Coventry Climax
    31st October 2023, 23:30

    I’m not in favor of guns and shooting at all. But shooting at wounded animals is probably the lowest you can get.

    1. Wounded animals? I wonder if perez would consider this offensive!

Comments are closed.