Lewis Hamilton has admitted that Toto Wolff faces a “huge amount of pressure” to get Mercedes back to where they once were next year after another disappointing campaign. Red Bull blew their rivals away in 2023 with Max Verstappen winning 19 of 22 races.
Hamilton and George Russell were powerless to challenge Red Bull with Mercedes sometimes a second a lap off the pace. That’s a huge gap to try and claw back and the season finale in Abu Dhabi was evidence that Red Bull still hold a big advantage over their rivals.
Mercedes were in a similar position 12 months ago with optimism that they would get things right for 2023. But the W14 failed to live up to expectations with Mercedes now aiming to avoid the same mistakes this offseason.
Hamilton is now hoping that Mercedes as a whole can pull together over the winter and get them back challenging for race wins next year. When asked by the BBC how much pressure Wolff is on to get things right at Mercedes next year, Hamilton said: “A huge amount of pressure, for sure.
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“Not just Toto, but globally, for all of us. Everyone back at the factory, a huge amount of pressure on everyone. Ultimately, as a boss like Toto, you have to start leaning on people more, rather than backing off on them.
“And how you do that is not easy, because people break at a certain point. So how do you do it in a constructive way that’s encouraging them and inspiring them to continue?
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“For me, hopefully some of the race results and drives that I’ve been able to put in, I like to think that sparks inspiration for the guys, like: ‘Oh, we’re almost there.’ And that trickles down through the whole system like: ‘Oh, he’s still got it – if we work hard and give him the car, he’s going to take us there.’
“That’s what I strive to be able to try to do.” Hamilton has not won a race in F1 since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but clearly believes Mercedes can return to the top of the sport once again.
The Briton signed a new contract a few months ago keeping him with Mercedes until the end of the 2025 season. And he’s even suggested that he would be open to signing another deal to keep him driving in F1 at 41 years of age.
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