Home » Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton says ending final season at the top would be ‘the greatest moment’

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton says ending final season at the top would be ‘the greatest moment’

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Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton says ending final season at the top would be ‘the greatest moment’

Lewis Hamilton says it would be “the greatest moment” if he could help Mercedes return to the top in his final season with the team.

The seven-time champion will move to Ferrari in 2025, ending the most successful relationship between a driver and team in F1 history.

As Mercedes launched their new car, Hamilton said: “I feel the most motivated and focused I’ve ever been.

“I never thought at this point in my life I’d have hunger like I do now.”

Hamilton’s last title was in 2020, and he remains determined to right what he perceives as the injustice of Abu Dhabi 2021, when he lost out on a record-beating eighth drivers’ title after the race director failed to implement the rules correctly.

The 39-year-old, who joined Mercedes in 2013, said: “To finish on a high with the team would be a dream. We have gone through a whole heap together. It would be the greatest moment to be able to help them get back to the top.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says their new car, which ran for the first time for a few laps at a wet Silverstone on Wednesday, is a “complete relaunch” as they try to recover from two difficult years.

The eight-time champions have lagged behind Red Bull for the past two seasons under new rules introduced in 2022.

Wolff said: “The car is very different, not only on the aerodynamic surfaces but mainly underneath.

“There are many mechanical changes. We hope it will transfer into more predictability and a car the drivers can really push.”

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The new W15 has abandoned Mercedes’ now-discredited so-called ‘zero-sidepod’ philosophy in favour of the aerodynamic direction pursued by Red Bull.

This features heavily undercut sidepods and a surface ‘ramp’ sloping the bodywork downwards towards the rear, all aimed at best manipulating airflow around the car and maximising the downforce created by the underbody ‘venturi’ tunnels.

Wolff said the team were keeping their expectations in check, hoping to lead the group compromising Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin, their main rivals last year, and push on towards catching Red Bull.

He said: “Most important is that you look inward – what is it we got wrong, why did the virtual world not correlate with the real world?

“And we found some clues and tried to eliminate some variables. We know it is difficult and a big mountain to climb because if a team is far ahead like Red Bull was last year it is not easy.

“But we have a superb driver combination, hopefully a fast car and I think there are some very good ingredients to be back at the front again.”

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell said: “The last two years have been challenging for the team. After eight consecutive [constructors’] championships, finishing third in 2022 was a bit of surprise.

“We didn’t understand the car, the problems we were tripping over took a lot of time to understand and resolve.

“We have learned so much as a team, developed our tools, we have much better correlation from our simulations and wind tunnel to the track, which is vital for the years to come.

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“There is a fire within. Everyone is so excited and motivated. I’ve got faith it will come.”

In addition to an overall lack of performance, the Mercedes drivers complained of a lack of predictability and a lack of rear grip in the team’s two previous cars.

Wolff said: “The target is to do a good job, look inwards, try to have the car on track that is predictable and has lots of downforce and do a solid job and deliver on our targets, to give a car to Lewis and George that they enjoy driving and not as difficult as the previous years. And hopefully in Bahrain in a week’s time, we will have more good feedback than bad.”

Pre-season testing is in Bahrain on 21-23 February, followed by the opening race of the season in the Gulf state on 2 March.

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