Lewis Hamilton waves white flag to give under-pressure driver a huge boost

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton attends a sponsor event ahead of the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix. F1 news

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton attends a sponsor event.

It looks like Red Bull’s Sergio Perez has bagged P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, with Lewis Hamilton having given up the chase.

The Drivers’ and Constructors’ title double has long since been in the bag for Red Bull, Verstappen strolling to a third World Championship in as many years while the team retained their firm grip on the Constructors’ trophy.

However, there is another piece of business still to be handled, with Red Bull relying on Perez to secure what would be a first-time achievement for the Austrian outfit.

Lewis Hamilton concedes P2 to Sergio Perez

Red Bull has never achieved a one-two finish in the Drivers’ standings, but what looked like a formality was cast into doubt by an alarming slump in form for Perez, the pressure having mounted as Perez and Red Bull boss Christian Horner batted away speculation that the driver continuing in F1 2024 was dependent on that P2 finish.

Perez has since steadied the ship though, with Hamilton’s disqualification from P2 at the US Grand Prix due to excessive plank wear on his Mercedes, plus a horror show in Brazil that yielded only P8, easing the strain on Perez considerably.

Perez holds an advantage of 32 points over Hamilton with two rounds remaining.

Speaking to media ahead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix about this Perez pursuit, Hamilton looked to Perez and joked: “Yeah, I’m coming for you!”

But, in all seriousness, Hamilton said that ship has sailed.

“He’s too far away now, to be honest,” Hamilton continued.

“30 points, in two races, yeah, he would have to have two disasters and I would have to be second basically.”

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However, in a season where Mercedes once more failed to mount a title challenge against Red Bull, Hamilton said finishing second or third is irrelevant to him.

Instead, he takes motivation from the progress of his team through F1 2023.

Mercedes are 20 points clear of Ferrari in the battle for P2 in the Constructors’ as they position themselves for a fresh Red Bull attack in F1 2024, which Hamilton said exceeded early expectations with the W14 challenger.

“For me, honestly, it really doesn’t make any difference if I’m second or third,” Hamilton confirmed.

“I think we’ve still had an amazing year given the car that we’ve had. We never thought that we would be fighting for second in the Constructors’ and knocking on the door of the most dominant car probably of our era.

“I’m grateful for just being where we are and having a half-decent season. Much better than last year.”

With Perez admitting it would be “nice to secure” the title in Las Vegas at the first time of asking, the Red Bull racer only needs to outscore Hamilton by seven points around the Las Vegas Strip Circuit to seal the deal.

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