Hamilton has ‘never run away from a fight’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton fight

Lewis Hamilton fight

Lewis Hamilton is up for the challenge of retaining the World title despite this year’s rules having a “massive” impact on Mercedes.

Having led the championship race through the early rounds, Hamilton lost P1 to Max Verstappen at the Monaco Grand Prix.

With Red Bull stringing together a run of five race wins, four of which went to the Dutchman, Hamilton arrived at Silverstone trailing by 32 points.

That became 33 at the end of Saturday evening’s sprint qualifying but it was slashed on Sunday as the Brit won the British Grand Prix while Verstappen retired after their lap 1 clash.

The result has put Hamilton’s title quest back on track, the gap down to eight points, although the Mercedes driver concedes Red Bull still have the better package in their RB16B.

“It’s what I dream of and am working towards,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live of his chances of retaining the Drivers’ title “I am massively driven. But it’s a tall order.

“Their performance has gone a little bit out of reach but we are working as hard as we can to close back up.

“When a challenge comes up, I face it head on.

“I have never run away from a fight. When we entered this season and we saw the challenge we had on, it was like, ‘Game on, love this, this is what we live for.’ It has been exciting.”

Lewis Hamilton celebrates

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This season Mercedes found themselves on the back foot with Formula 1’s new, but minor, aerodynamic regulations having a huge impact on the car’s design philosophy.

Mercedes have slowly but surely clawed back some of the deficit, but have had to do so while operating under a new budget cap – a cap that reduced the team’s usual budget to a third.

“These rules have impacted us massively,” Hamilton said. “We have had the engine scenario changed last year when we lost qualifying mode and then this new rule shift has hit us hardest.

“We are doing the best we can. The cost cap has come in, which has made it even harder for development.

“All I know is that, whatever the outcome, there has been an immense amount of growth and I am going to be here for longer than this year.

“It is not going to be the end of the world if we don’t but we are going to give everything to make sure that we do.”