Lewis Hamilton will be ready to compete for the world championship again once Mercedes give him a competitive car, team principal Toto Wolff believes.
Mercedes have only won one race since Formula 1’s technical regulations were overhauled at the start of 2022. But Wolff remains convinced Hamilton is ready to fight for a record-breaking eighth world championship title if the opportunity arises.
“From Lewis’s perspective, he had a bad weekend: Fact,” said Wolff. “And I think that doesn’t do anything on him being the greatest driver in the world.
“If we are able to give him a car, he will be fighting for a world championship, I have no doubt.”
Both Mercedes drivers have said the team’s car gave them little confidence this year, a problem they intend to address with a substantially different design for 2024.
“It’s clear that when you have a F1 car like we have now, you are never at ease with it,” said Wolff. “You have good weekend and bad weekends.
“But at the end, every time when we’ve seen that Lewis has somebody in his target in front of him and it was about winning the race, then the real Lewis comes alive. And I think we just need to give him a car.”
While Hamilton failed to reach Q3 and struggled to ninth place, George Russell had one of his better weekends of the season and reached the podium for only the second time all year. Wolff praised Russell’s drive after he out-ran Lando Norris, who was delayed by a slow pit stop, and finished close enough to Sergio Perez to benefit from his post-race penalty.
“We came to this weekend a little bit on the back foot when you saw Ferrari’s performances in the last few races. And for whatever reasons we have this it’s difficult to have the car in a sweet spot. You’ve seen that with Carlos [Sainz Jnr], who never was never there this weekend, and the same with Lewis.
“Then you have the two guys fighting in the front, and I think George’s drive today was impeccable, also in managing the gaps at the end.”
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