Eddie Jordan explains why he believes Lewis Hamilton could fight for number eight this year

Michelle Foster
George Russell points something out to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Bahrain February 2023

George Russell points something out to Lewis Hamilton. Bahrain February 2023

Between Abu Dhabi 2021 and last year’s loss to George Russell, Eddie Jordan believes Lewis Hamilton will line up on the Bahrain grid next Sunday determined to regain the title.

Hamilton’s four-year streak for winning the Drivers’ Championship title ended in 2021, the Mercedes driver beaten on the final lap of the season.

Adding to his misery, Mercedes weren’t able to give him a car capable of fighting back last season, a year in which he also lost to his new team-mate George Russell.

It was only the third time in Hamilton’s 16-year F1 career that he came off second best, 2022 also marking his first season without a race win.

Jordan believes this year he’ll be back, determined to assert his authority over Russell while also chasing title number eight.

“Seven-time World Champion,” the former team boss told OLBG. “I do believe he thinks he has the best chance this coming season to make this championship eight.

“The reason I say that and the reason why I think he can beat George Russell is because this time last year, Lewis was devastated.

“What happened in Abu Dhabi in 2021, last race of the season, had it happened in the mid-season, it would be something you could probably get your mind through but the way it happened, it was the last race and for the eighth championship seriously affected Lewis’ mindset and his mind wasn’t as clear as it should have been going into the start of the season.

“I would discount the first 20 or 30 percent of last season in terms of not seeing Lewis at his best and he’ll be back to his best now.

“I think as an indicator, George Russell beating him in terms of total points for the championship in 2022, will be a blow to him.

“I can’t remember the last time a team-mate beat him other than Nico Rosberg who was a super smart driver in terms of how he went about it and capitalised on any little mistakes that Lewis did and went on to win the championship, which people didn’t believe he could do but he did.

“There’s everything to play for this year, I think Lewis will be very strong nevertheless.”

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Of course Hamilton being strong will be determined by the car Mercedes give him, the team running into trouble on Day Two of pre-season testing when the W14 suffered a “strange” loss of downforce.

It has been widely speculated on that if Mercedes get it right this season, team boss Toto Wolff could have a difficult time managing Hamilton and Russell.

One will be chasing title number eight, the other wants his first.

Jordan has backed the Austrian to manage it, after all he dealt with the Hamilton versus Rosberg rivalry of 2016.

“Toto Wolff will be able to handle Hamilton and Russell, similar to that of Hamilton and Rosberg,” said the 74-year-old.

“Toto is very calm, he understands these things. He’s been at Mercedes for a long time. For people to run an F1 team, you can never buy experience.

“Anyone who has knowledge of when they were a driver and they worked their way up the ranks, then come to this, that’s where Toto and Christian Horner are strong. They have a knowledge that is there, what has happened with Ferrari in the past is they didn’t have that.

“Rosberg and George. Rosberg was so clever, so smart, how he capitalised on every little error and mistake, psychologically as well as sporting and all of the aspects and he played a very very strong game.”