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Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton don’t have any excuses this year

Image for article titled Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton doesn't have any excuses this year

Photo: AP (AP)

Max Verstappen, who win first Formula 1 championship in 2021 in controversial stylewon the Formula 1 championship for the second time last year with much less noisy and four races left. Verstappen has, undeniably, become the most dominant F1 driver in the world, if not the best, and it was curious last year how little Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton talked about it.

Hamilton’s campaign was ruined by porpoising and under the changing rules that Mercedes doesn’t seem prepared for. The W13 car is also unpredictable, as the car looks to enjoy some grand prix – Hamilton and George Russell finished second and third at Circuit Paul Ricard – while in other races – Saudi Arabia showed up. – the car runs very fast.

But don’t worry: In 2023, with its new W14 car, Mercedes team leader Toto Wolff says they’ve overcome all of that. Or at least car parts. Or at least they tried. However, Thursday is the first day of testing in Bahrain and Mercedes has put the W14 through some of its paces and seems to like what they see. From guard:

“You need to provide a good car for a driver with ambitions to win races and championships and we have that,” he said. “We want to win. At this time last year, we knew we were in trouble because the car was bouncing around and we couldn’t steer correctly. Today, it is very different. The car seems to be properly balanced. There is no bouncing which is good news. That is a good starting point.”


Wolff said Hamilton’s teammate George Russell was pleased with the car and its balance, a key area where last year made its performance unpredictable from track to track, a Another problem they seem to have solved. “I think we now have a solid base to work on and try to optimize the car, which we haven’t done yet,” said Wolff.

Russell finished with the fifth fastest time in his session on Thursday, while Hamilton finished with the sixth fastest time in his session, and Verstappen finished fastest of the two, completely meaningless facts, especially to Mercedes’ sandbag history.

What we can say for sure is that this time Mercedes made no excuses for the car, and in second year under new rules, it also won’t have those to blame. They are also still arguably the greatest driver of all time in Hamilton, along with Russell, who is technically as talented as they are.

Smart money is still on Verstappen to take home a third straight title this year, and if that happens then the Mercedes era is probably over for good and for real. Mercedes will also have no one other than themselves to blame.


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