Nigel Mansell makes three big F1 predictions involving Lewis Hamilton and former team

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and Lando Norris, McLaren, celebrate. Silverstone, July 2023.

Lando Norris held off Lewis Hamilton to take P2 at Silverstone.

1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell believes gains made by Mercedes and McLaren this season should result in “a very close” championship next year with Max Verstappen facing competition.

Storming from one win to another, Verstappen has not only wrapped up the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles, the driver having scored enough points to single-handedly beat Mercedes in the standings but he’s also matched his record of 15 wins.

And that’s with another four events still on the calendar, starting with Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix.

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There have, however, been some encouraging signs of late with Mercedes and McLaren notably closing the gap on the Milton Keynes squad.

While McLaren’s two big upgrades in Austin and Singapore saw them take up the charge as Red Bull’s closest rival, Mercedes’ new floor appears to be a leap in the right direction.

It has Mansell predicting next season Verstappen won’t have it all his own way.

“I don’t think there’s anything to hold Red Bull and Max back other than Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes, who’ve done an incredible job for Lewis to get the cars as competitive as what Red Bulls’ are,” he said in an interview with aceodds.com.

“I think next year should be a very close season compared to what this year has been. I certainly hope it is for Formula 1 fans.

“Mercedes came up with a car, Lewis can do the job again, and yes, I believe he can win another World Championship. So, you know, it’s all open there for the taking.

“I think McLaren and Zak Brown and the team have done an incredible job to get to know both their cars now being on the podium, and literally a hair’s breadth away from being as quick as a Red Bull. Such a fantastic achievement.”

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Expanding more on his belief Hamilton can still win an eighth World title having been denied the record by Verstappen in their 2021 title fight, Mansell said: “I think Lewis has an opportunity, which is almost cemented in place already. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest ever.

“And I think if you give him another World Championship you know, that will set the benchmark so high, it’ll be very, very difficult for anybody to achieve that again.”

The Briton, though, doesn’t believe next year’s championship will be fought between only Red Bull and Mercedes with the 1992 World Champion citing McLaren’s performances as a sign they too have closed the gap to Red Bull.

Asked what he thinks can be done to make Formula 1 more competitive, Mansell replied: “I think what they didn’t appreciate was they gave too much of an advantage and they had to catch up with Red Bull. Max was on a mission, but I think they’ve caught up.

“Look, you know, just take McLaren as an example and actually take Mercedes as an example as well. At certain races, they close the gap a lot. It’s just that, and you only have to look at Singapore, what went wrong with Red Bull there? It’s such a cliff-hanging thing to get the car set up properly.

“And anyway, what I’m saying really quickly is that Red Bull had too much of a jump, but everyone’s closed it a little bit. And I just hope, you know, with different things that are going to happen going into 2024, the four big teams, I hope will be very close.”

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