Lewis Hamilton v Max Verstappen in 2024? ‘All eyes on Mercedes’, F1 pundit claims

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) celebrate on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, 2023.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are at odds over Sprint weekends.

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok believes “all eyes” are on Mercedes to put Lewis Hamilton back in contention to fight Max Verstappen for the title in 2024.

After suffering the first winless campaign of his career in 2022, Hamilton had targeted a return to title contention this year but instead saw his Mercedes team forced into a redesign of their W14 car.

Hamilton has just four podium finished to show from the first 10 rounds of the 2023 season, while Verstappen and Red Bull have emerged as F1’s dominant force, the RB19 car winning every race so far.

Mercedes to finally get it right in F1 2024?

Verstappen’s victory at last weekend’s British Grand Prix was his sixth – and the team’s 11th – in succession, with the Dutchman winning 33 of the last 54 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning campaign in 2021.

With Verstappen holding a 99-point lead over under-pressure team-mate Sergio Perez, the 25-year-old is almost certain to be crowned a three-time World Champion in 2023.

Speaking during ITV’s television coverage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Chandhok fears Red Bull cannot be caught by the chasing pack this season.

But the former Hispania and Lotus driver is backing Mercedes to return the seven-time World Champion to title contention next year, with Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso also in the hunt.

He said: “I don’t think they will be back this year – I think the gap between them and Red Bull is too much for them to really bridge – but I think they’ve made a great deal of movement behind the scenes in terms of reorganising the structure of the team: James Allison has come back to lead the technical team.

“So all eyes on them for next year because we want to see Lewis versus Max fighting for the World Championship. We think Lewis is about to sign a new contract, which hopefully be another two or three years.

“I think that’s what the fans want to see: Lewis versus Fernando versus Max.

“And George Russell has done an amazing job in his first 18 months alongside Lewis and it’d be nice to see him have an opportunity to go for a Championship as well.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

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

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

Hamilton was widely mocked at the recent Austrian GP after suggesting teams should be prevented by regulation from starting development of the following year’s car until a set date to stop dominant squads like Red Bull gaining a lasting advantage.

After Hamilton’s record-breaking dominance from the start of F1’s hybrid era in 2014, that proposal provoked a sarcastic response from Verstappen, who said: ” We weren’t talking about that when he was winning his Championships, right? So I don’t think we should now.”

Read next: Max Verstappen sees red in Spa battle to deliberately take out rival driver