Mercedes boss Toto Wolff stressed that Lewis Hamilton absolutely is up to the task of winning a record eighth World Championship, as long as his machinery is too.
The combination of Hamilton and Mercedes has brought about unmatched Formula 1 success, Hamilton winning six World titles with the team during their streak of eight consecutive Constructors’ title triumphs between 2014-21.
Recent years though have proven far more challenging, with Hamilton left stuck in his attempts to become Formula 1’s first eight-time champion.
Toto Wolff “emphasises” Lewis Hamilton can win eighth title
F1’s regulatory reset in time for the 2022 campaign put Mercedes on the back foot, with Red Bull having achieved dominant status since, winning a remarkable 21 of the 22 grands prix in 2023, while for Hamilton, he is without a win in over two years.
But, as Hamilton resets with fresh title-winning focus for F1 2024, Wolff warns that F1’s most successful driver is still very much up to the task of securing title glory.
“Clearly yes, and I emphasise that strongly,” Wolff insisted when asked by La Gazzetta dello Sport if Hamilton can still win another title.
“There is a reason why Lewis has broken all records and won seven World Championships: because his skill is on a higher level. If we give him a good car that he can trust, he can get back in front of everyone.”
This extended barren spell has at times though worn Hamilton down, who has admitted doubts crept in over whether he was still up to the task of title success.
Speaking to the BBC following a second winless campaign in 2023, Hamilton said: “Ultimately, when you have difficult seasons like this, there are always going to be moments when you’re like: ‘Is it me, or is it the car? Do you still have it? Has it gone?’”
Wolff though, rather than a weakness, sees this self-analysis as a common trait of “extraordinary people”.
“And doubts, in those who thrive on high performance, are necessary: questioning is often an important part of character, helping to improve and grow,” Wolff continued.
“All the extraordinary people I’ve met in life are like that.”
Hamilton suffered the added frustration of defeat to George Russell in 2022, their first season as Mercedes team-mates, though Hamilton wrestled back control in 2023, scoring 234 points to Russell’s 175, while Hamilton achieved six podium results to Russell’s two.
Russell admitted it was one of the worst seasons of his career in terms of results as he dropped from the highs of 2022, but Wolff sees no reason for concern regarding their driver academy graduate and billed star for the future, making it clear Russell is a driver he would always want in his team.
“When you do well and expectations get high, life gets complicated, but I don’t see any pressure on him,” said Wolff of Russell.
“George is a young, strong driver, racing on a team with the best and challenging him, trying to beat him while he learns. But he has met all our expectations: when I think of his age and talent, he is someone I would always want on one of my teams.”
Both Hamilton and Russell have signed Mercedes contract extensions running until the end of 2025.