Lewis Hamilton: ‘I’m one of the only drivers that can fight Max Verstappen’

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in front of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on the podium.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in front of Max Verstappen, Red Bull, on the podium.

Lewis Hamilton believes he is among a small group of drivers who can take the fight to Max Verstappen, but needs Mercedes to produce the challenger and pit stops to make it happen.

Hamilton remains without a victory since the penultimate round of his epic 2021 World Championship scrap with Verstappen, Mercedes having fallen away from the title picture since then.

However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was left hurting by the fact that Hamilton was not able to snap that streak at the 2023 United States Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton ready to challenge Max Verstappen

Wolff claimed that Mercedes had the fastest car in Austin, though it was Verstappen who made it to the chequered flag first to claim victory, two seconds ahead of Hamilton who ran out of laps to hunt the Red Bull down on his medium tyres versus Verstappen’s hards.

Hamilton has his sights set though on returning to the title scene in F1 2024 and that sniff of victory will have only boosted his belief and motivation, Hamilton claiming ahead of the race weekend that not many drivers are capable of taking the fight to Verstappen, but he is.

“I’m praying every day that we will close the gap [to Red Bull] and we’ll hit the ground running,” said Hamilton.

“I want to be fighting for the Championship, I want to be fighting Max. I believe I am one of the only drivers that can do so.

“But we’ve got to have the package, not only the car, but we’ve got to be operating better in our pit stops. There are so many areas we need to be levelling-up to be able to match the champions.”

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Hamilton remains in the hunt to deny Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, a one-two finish something Red Bull has never achieved before with Verstappen having stormed to his third World title in as many seasons.

However, Hamilton’s disqualification from the US Grand Prix, along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for excessive plank wear on their Mercedes and Ferrari challengers respectively, has put a dent in Hamilton’s aspirations.

Instead of narrowing the gap to Perez, Hamilton instead left the Circuit of The Americas 39 points behind with four rounds of F1 2023 remaining.

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