Lewis Hamilton reveals lofty Qatar ambition to end unwanted F1 streak

Michelle Foster
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is 0 for 39 heading into Qatar.

Lewis Hamilton will line up on the Qatar Grand Prix grid on Sunday not with intention of closing the gap to Sergio Perez in the standings but with the aim of beating Max Verstappen to the race win.

It has been almost two years since Hamilton last won a grand prix, the Mercedes driver having taken on Verstappen in a title thriller back in 2021.

Little did he know that when he won that year’s penultimate race from pole position, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, also taking the fastest lap point, it would mark his last win in 22 months.

Lewis Hamilton is 0 for 39

Losing the World title to Verstappen a week later in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton didn’t win a single race in 2022 – his first win-less campaign in Formula 1, and this season he’s 0-16 with just six grands prix remaining.

The first of those, Qatar, he’ll line up third on the grid behind pole-sitter Verstappen and his Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

But while Hamilton is on course to potentially take second place off the beleaguered Sergio Perez, trailing the Red Bull driver by 33 points, it’s not P2 in the Drivers’ Championship that he wants. Rather it’s the end to his winless streak.

Asked where his battle will be on Sunday, the seven-time World Champion replied: “With everyone around me.

“I’m battling the guy to the right of me for sure [Verstappen]. I think, yeah, I’ll give it everything to try and fight him. Maybe he will just disappear like he does in most of the other races, but maybe we’ll be able to fight.

“I’m trying to win the race. It doesn’t matter who I’m fighting against.”

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But while Hamilton is up for the fight against Verstappen, Russell is a bit more pragmatic about Mercedes’ chances of beating the soon-to-be-2023 World Champion.

“Probably waving him goodbye, I think, after Turn 1,” said the former Williams driver.

“Max has done an exceptional job. He deserves to be champion this year. Of course, you know, Formula 1, we love the competition, but we can’t take anything away from what he and Red Bull have done.

“And we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and raise our game into next year and give them a challenge.”

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