A respected Formula 1 observer has claimed that Lewis Hamilton must now “dig unbelievably deep” to maintain his motivation in Formula 1 with this season proving to be “worse” than 2022 for the Mercedes driver.
After going through the first winless campaign of his career in 2022 with a Mercedes car blighted by porpoising, Hamilton had hoped to recommence his pursuit of a record-breaking eighth title with the W14 in 2023.
However, the seven-time World Champion has finished no higher than fifth in the opening two races, having been outqualified by team-mate George Russell in both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
With Red Bull looking dominant after consecutive one-two finishes for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez and Mercedes planning to abandon their current car concept, 38-year-old Hamilton potentially faces a long road back to the summit of F1.
And speaking via his YouTube channel, former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor fears that Hamilton’s hunger may suffer as a result of Mercedes’ underperformance.
He said: “In a way, this is worse than last year from his point of view.
“Last year was the shock of the car, the porpoising, how difficult it was to drive and that was the sort of universal thing.
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“But now you’ve got George getting the best from the car, the car’s not porpoising anymore – it’s not physically as difficult to drive as it was last year but it’s obviously not a quick car in the Red Bull sense of the word.
“Lewis has got to dig unbelievably deep now to keep his motivation and to be the racer that he is.
“It’s sad actually, I think.
“It’s a waste to see a driver of that quality, putting in the inputs that he has into his driving, and not getting a result and making mistakes.”
With Hamilton’s current contract expiring at the end of this season, doubts have surfaced over whether he will continue with Mercedes beyond 2023 having arrived from McLaren a decade ago.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently rejected the suggestion that he could move to sign Hamilton, insisting he is “very happy” with the partnership between Verstappen and Perez and warning that Hamilton and Mercedes cannot be written off yet.
With seven titles, and 103 victories and pole positions, Hamilton stands as the most successful driver in F1 history but is without a win since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix of December 2021.
Seven days later, he was denied an eighth title in highly controversial circumstances at the season finale in Abu Dhabi as Verstappen benefited from a late Safety Car period to overtake Hamilton on the final lap of the race.