Lewis Hamilton draws attention to Christian Horner radio messages to Max Verstappen

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton discuss their race at COTA for the United States Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton discuss their race.

Lewis Hamilton has pointed to Christian Horner’s radio messages to Max Verstappen following yet another Red Bull victory as proof that F1 teams can get bored of winning.

Having claimed at least one victory in every season between his debut season in 2007 and 2021, Hamilton is set to complete a second successive winless year at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

While Hamilton remains winless since the penultimate round of 2021 in Saudi Arabia, former title rival Verstappen has won 43 of the last 65 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning campaign.

Lewis Hamilton spots notable difference in Red Bull, Max Verstappen celebrations

Verstappen set a new record with 10 straight wins between Miami and Monza earlier this season and last month broke his own 2022 record for the most wins by a driver in a single campaign.

A 19th victory of 2023 in Abu Dhabi would see Verstappen pull ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the list of all-time grand prix winners, leaving only Hamilton and Michael Schumacher ahead of him.

Hamilton enjoyed his own period of dominance at the start of F1’s V6 hybrid era in 2014, winning six titles in seven years and claiming at least nine grand prix victories each season.

Ahead of the second anniversary of the infamous 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, where he was dethroned by Verstappen in highly controversial circumstances, the 38-year-old is keen to return to winning ways after the longest barren spell of his career.

And he believes Horner’s reaction to Verstappen’s wins over team radio proves the winning feeling is not the same when the novelty wears off.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Revealed: The F1 2023 World Championship standings without Red Bull

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

He told Channel 4: “You approach every year exactly the same. Still prepare myself, still train. If anything, you deep dive a bit more, you try to pay attention to more.

“I think through adversity and through this experience for two years, I feel like I’ve learned a huge amount as a driver – not necessarily on track but particularly off track in terms of how I engage with everyone and I like to think that’s a real positive.

“And also, when you have so much success, no matter how hard you try it’s hard to keep things in perspective. I even hear it in Christian Horner’s voice when Max wins, he doesn’t know what to say. He’s like: ‘Here we go again. Good job, Max. Good job.’

“The excitement goes, but when you first get that win it’s amazing. But if you have it all the time [it’s not the same].

“Of course, I want to win again. I do feel like when we do win again, the feeling is going to be even greater because everyone’s struggled.”

Following a dismal performance at Suzuka in September, Hamilton warned that Mercedes require “the greatest six months of development ever” to have any hope of challenging Red Bull and Verstappen in 2024.

Read next: Carlos Sainz farce in Las Vegas proves F1 needs a rulebook rewrite…and fast