Hamilton: Mercedes F1 has to “level up” to beat Verstappen and Red Bull

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Hamilton: Mercedes F1 has to “level up” to beat Verstappen and Red Bull

Red Bull has won every race in 2023, with Verstappen currently on a record run of 10 consecutive grand prix victories after his Monza triumph two weeks ago.

Hamilton praised Verstappen and Red Bull’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey for the “exceptional job” that they have done this year.

The final eight races of the season include two street circuits, three sprint weekends and several venues where rain is a strong possibility, all things that present challenges that could potentially contribute to ending Verstappen’s run.

However, Hamilton prefers to focus on getting Mercedes back to a position where it can win on merit.

“I don’t like to look at that sort of thing,” when asked by Motorsport.com about the possibility of Verstappen being tripped up ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

“I was just asked a question earlier: would you rather take Max out of the equation or take Adrian Newey out of the equation? Something like that.

“And I was like, ‘neither’, I think we just have to level up and do a better job. They’ve done an exceptional job, and you can’t fault them for the amazing work that they collectively are doing and have done.

“I just want to level up all of us. But there’s a lot of opportunity for sure in these next eight races. So just trying to make sure that we are prepared to be there if something does happen to be coming our way. But we remain hopeful for that.”

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, and Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, on the podium

Adrian Newey, Chief Technology Officer, Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, and Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, on the podium

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Hamilton, a four-time winner of the Singapore GP, was non-committal about the potential of the W14 around Marina Bay.

“I don’t know, I think we were relatively competitive last year, but we had not such a great race,” he said. “But given the car we had last year, I’m hoping the car has progressed quite a lot since last year.

“So hopefully, we are maybe a little bit closer than to the front. I’m hoping we can fight for a podium. I’ll find out tomorrow with everybody, but that’s the reality.”

Asked about the impact of the replacement of four corners by a new section of straight he said: “It’ll make the lap easier, that’s for sure. It gives less corners for Red Bull to be further ahead!

“It’s a short straight. So I don’t think anyone will have an advantage, particularly on it. Except for the Ferraris might be quick on the straight maybe, or the Red Bulls maybe?

“But I think it’s such a short straight, I don’t think it’s going to be a huge issue. And I mean, there’s generally nowhere that our car is favoured!

“And this is not a particular track that’s been a strong place for us in the past. But [compared with] last year, as I said, with this type of car, we tend to be a little bit quicker than we thought we were going to be. So maybe that I hope that’s the case this weekend.”

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