Mark Blundell believes Lewis Hamilton 2023 title win in the hands of ‘adrift’ Mercedes

Thomas Maher
Lewis Hamilton on the grid after qualifying. Singapore October 2022.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton towels down with steam coming off him on the grid. Singapore October 2022.

The possibility of Lewis Hamilton claiming a record-breaking eighth World Championship is entirely in the hands of an ‘adrift’ Mercedes, according to Mark Blundell.

Lewis Hamilton heads into the 2023 season aiming to fight back against Red Bull and Max Verstappen in a bid to claim his eighth World Championship, having not been in a position to do so last season.

Having lost out in 2021 in heart-breaking and controversial circumstances at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, the fresh start afforded to the teams by the sweeping regulation changes saw Mercedes fall away from the front of Formula 1 as their recalcitrant W13 proved unable to compete with Red Bull’s RB18 or Ferrari’s F1-75 for most of the season.

While Mercedes managed a Grand Prix win by season end, with George Russell leading a 1-2 in Brazil, the team’s third-place finish in the Constructors’ Championship was an accurate gauge of their performance level over the season.

Mark Blundell: There’s no denying Hamilton’s ability

With 2023 allowing the teams to right any wrongs with their designs from last season, the possibility of Mercedes taking a significant step forward is there – but former F1 racer and Le Mans winner Mark Blundell doesn’t believe the Brackley-based team will be able to do quite enough to give Hamilton a car capable of the title.

“I’m not sure it’s going to be possible for him to do it in 2023, I just am not sure that the car is going to be strong enough for him to do it,” he told in an exclusive interview.

“There’s no denying that Lewis’ ability is there to win a World Championship, we’ve seen it time and time again. But you’re only as good as the car and something in the back of my mind niggles me that Mercedes is not going to come out as the fastest car on the grid for race one.

“I’m not sure why, other than I think there’s a bit of focus that’s been lost inside.” recommends

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One of the most significant non-driver team switches of the off-season was the departure of Mercedes’ head of strategy James Vowles, with the Brackley veteran departing to join Williams as their new team principal. It’s in changes like this that Blundell believes Mercedes aren’t quite the force they once were.

“There’s a little bit of change there, there’s ownership structural changes, personnel changes, maybe not quite the same pressures being applied from the likes of a Daimler Mercedes Benz. They’re a little bit adrift,” he commented.

“Can they come back again and start to dominate like we’ve seen in previous seasons? I’m unsure.”

Mark Blundell: Lewis Hamilton is in the ‘one-percent club’

While Blundell expressed some doubts about where Mercedes’ relative competitiveness will be in 2023, he was full of admiration for Hamilton’s ability to dig deep and produce consistently excellent performance across what are now extremely long F1 seasons.

The brief respite of not fighting for the 2022 titles came after a near-decade of being in the top two in the standings, and it’s this consistency that impressed Blundell most about the 38-year-old.

“Lewis’ biggest thing is going to be waking up and having the motivation to do it all over again,” he said.

“Guys who get to that level – for me, that’s superhuman stuff to have that determination and motivation to keep doing it – year in, year out, and succeeding.

“That’s the one-percent club, and he’s surely in that.

“I think realism will be there in terms of him looking and saying, ‘Do I have enough in me to go again? Do I feel that the car is going to be capable of doing it?’

“But, I think, at that stage, as we all know, there are other things going on in Lewis’ life, which is also a remarkable thing that he’s able to do that, and still compete at the level that he does.”