Lewis Hamilton swerves ‘personal question’ from Sky F1 over drop in ability

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2023

Lewis Hamilton was keen not to delve too deep after receiving what he deemed to be a “personal question” following his Hungarian GP comments regarding his form.

While Hamilton was not able to claim what would have been a record ninth win at the Hungaroring, his performance in qualifying was reminiscent of the Hamilton-Mercedes glory days as he pipped Red Bull’s runaway Championship leader Max Verstappen to pole.

Cooling concerns for much of the race then hampered both Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate George Russell, with a late pace surge as the worries eased good enough to secure only P4.

Lewis Hamilton wary of “personal question” about ability

It was after the racing action was complete that Hamilton reflected back on that Hungary pole, saying that having not felt at his best now for over a year, that was him operating at his top level once again.

Sky F1’s Craig Slater brought those comments up then when speaking to Hamilton ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, who was very cautious in his initial reply.

Asked by Slater if he ever felt he had “lost something you wouldn’t get back” during a challenging season-and-a-half for Hamilton and Mercedes, the seven-time champ paused before replying: “I don’t know, I think that’s a bit of a personal question. I probably don’t really want to go too much into that.”

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Hamilton though would offer some further insight into the meaning of his Hungary comments.

Having been absent from the title scene since 2021, Hamilton explained that it has been difficult to showcase his abilities, with the goal being to develop the Mercedes machinery so that he can do so once again.

“I think the last year-and-a-bit has been difficult with the car we’ve had,” Hamilton continued.

“And particularly last year, just not finding myself gelling with the car that we had built and therefore just not being able to live at the potential I know I’m able to compete in.

“When you’re hindered with the balance, and that’s similar for so many drivers, and the goal is to steer the direction of the development so that you can eventually show your potential and what you’re capable of.

“And I think through really hard work, I think we’re starting to get there and I think you started to see that particularly from Monaco onwards.

“We’ve had much more consistent performances, and then the pole position we had in the last race really felt very reminiscent of the olden days for me, so that gives me hope that we’re going in the right direction. Hopefully the same for our team.”

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