Lewis Hamilton willing to sacrifice major achievement for F1 2024 title push

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton smiling as he adjusts his cap. Barcelona, Spain 2023.

Lewis Hamilton smiling as he adjusts his cap. Barcelona, Spain 2023.

Lewis Hamilton would much rather go another season without winning in Formula 1 if it means returning to the title scene for F1 2024.

After making clear progress throughout the 2022 campaign, the first run to Formula 1’s new ground effect regulations, Mercedes suffered a fresh setback in F1 2023 as they now look to their string of upgrades for the W14 to bring them back into contention against the dominant Red Bull team.

And with stage one having arrived in Monaco, the next upgrade package is now set to arrive on the W14 come Silverstone, Hamilton’s home race where he has won a record eight times.

Lewis Hamilton expects Mercedes to reel in Red Bull

There is a reason why Hamilton expects this though, that being his theory that with Red Bull having won all eight races so far in F1 2023, the defending double champs are now cruising their way through the rest of the season, having already admitted focus has turned to the RB20 for next season.

“I think we have a step coming which I would say is similar to the last step we took, so just small steps in the right direction,” Hamilton told Sky F1 in regards to the Silverstone upgrade.

“But the great thing is that we have steps coming, so that’s the one really really important thing to look at. The car is moving in the right direction.

“I think ultimately it is likely that bit by bit, by the end of the year we will probably catch Red Bull, but that’s only because they’re probably already focusing on next year’s car because they’re so far ahead. They don’t have to make any changes to this year’s car anymore, because they’re so far ahead.”

Mercedes’ recent surge in form took a knock in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, Hamilton managing only P5 on the grid, while team-mate George Russell was eliminated in Q2 after his best time was deleted for a track limits breach.

It is understandable then why Hamilton already is looking ahead to Silverstone in hope of a fresh wave of progress.

“More excited obviously for next week because we will take another small step in the right direction,” he predicted. “And that’s always exciting just to know that we’re making progress.

“And we wouldn’t have had the podiums that we’ve had if it wasn’t for this amazing hard work that has been done back in the factory. With such a strong, determining, focused team.”

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Lewis Hamilton prefers F1 2024 title push over win this season

Hamilton has not tasted victory in Formula 1 since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, having last season gone a full campaign without a win for the first time in his Formula 1 career.

The seven-time champ though made it clear that he would gladly double-up on that barren spell if it means Mercedes can put their focus into returning to the title scene in F1 2024.

Asked if he can win a race in 2023, Hamilton responded: “I don’t know, I mean I’m trying to win a race. As I said, I really have no idea, it depends where the car goes.

“I think we’ll hopefully get close, but I can’t predict what Aston [Martin] are going to do, what Ferrari are going to do, where Red Bull are going to be, but I hope so.

“But I also hope that we don’t focus too much on winning the race this year. I care less to win a race this year, and more to win the championship next year.”

Hamilton finds himself P4 in the Drivers’ standings heading into the Austria sprint with 102 points on the board, while former title rival Max Verstappen comfortably leads the way on 195.

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