F1: Russell ‘now always ahead of Hamilton’ – Briatore
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton is not likely to quit Formula 1 at the end of 2023.
That is the view of former F1 driver Christian Danner, even though the seven time world champion continues to trail his much younger teammate George Russell.
“There’s a specific thing with something on this car that I’ve never had before,” Hamilton, 38, said after Saudi Arabia.
“For me, it’s the thing that is making me uncomfortable.”
Editor’s Note: Hamilton is not talented enough to drive a loose car like a Max Verstappen is.
“We’re a long way down on downforce,” explained Hamilton. “So we’ve got to pick up the rear end downforce particularly.
“The more rear we gain, the more stable the rear becomes, and the more confident I’ll be able to attack.
“But I think in general, just this car, even if we do change that, there’s a specific thing with something on the car that I have never had before.
“It’s a position I’ve not had in previous years’ cars. For me, it’s the thing that is making me uncomfortable. I’ve just got to work hard to make sure it is changed.”
“It’s on a massive knife edge when you’re above about 95%,” he said. “But when you’re in a race stint, it’s much more controllable and predictable.
“I still don’t have the confidence in the race, but I’m doing the best I can with it.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted that the team was aware of the issue that Hamilton was struggling with, but said there was no swift fix for it, said Wolff when asked by Motorsport.com about the problem
“We have a fundamental issue he’s not happy with, and that is linked to the way he feels the rear end of the car,” explained Wolff.
“That’s not something that can be cured quickly. The drivers are the most important sensors in the car and if they tell us that’s what they feel, we need to consider that.”
Some think a second consecutive season of struggling to keep up with Russell will be the precursor to Hamilton failing to come to terms on another Mercedes contract.
When asked which driver he has his eye on in 2023, former Renault boss Flavio Briatore told Corriere della Sera: “Russell. He’s great.
“He already knows how to win and is now usually ahead of Hamilton.”
German Danner, however, doubts Hamilton is poised to retire.
“I still don’t think Lewis will lose interest in Formula 1,” the former Arrows driver said.
“One reason is that we are now seeing the magnificent driving of Fernando Alonso, and he is three years older than Lewis.
“There’s no doubt that an uncompetitive car can take the edge off a racing driver, but I don’t think Lewis is a driver who gives up easily. Even if he’s faced with pretty rough winds in the form of George Russell.
“But I think Hamilton is someone who gets stuck into adversity with even more fierce determination than usual.”