‘I’ve been here and done that’

Lewis Hamilton admits a second season out of contention for the world championship is not giving him much satisfaction.

The Mercedes driver endured his first ever win-less season in 2022. Throughout much of it the seven-times world champion talked about his drive to restore the team to a competitive position.

However that failed to materialise at the beginning of the new season. Hamilton finished 50 seconds behind dominant race-winner Max Verstappen in Bahrain, and qualified six-tenths of a second off the pace for today’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Hamilton joined Mercedes a decade ago and has enjoyed huge success with them since, winning six of his world championships at the team and coming within one lap of a seventh in the notorious 2021 finale. He is contracted to remain with them until the end of this season.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said he doesn’t believe Hamilton will lose faith in the team “just because we’ve had another start that was really bad.” However in Jeddah Wolff admitted he would understand Hamilton choosing to look elsewhere if the current situation persists over the coming seasons.

“If he wants to win another championship, he needs to make sure that he has the car. And if we cannot demonstrate that we are able to give him a car in the next couple of years, then he needs to look everywhere.”

Speaking after yesterday’s qualifying session, Hamilton said the possibility of moving on from Mercedes isn’t on his mind at the moment. “I’m not focussed on that,” he said.

“I love this team. I’m so grateful for everyone that’s been able to join in with me on this team. I don’t envisage being anywhere else, I don’t see myself quitting. I’m not a quitter.”

However facing the prospect of another year in which he may not have the chance to win another race, Hamilton admitted he doesn’t find as much satisfaction competing for the lower positions.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s giving me a lot,” he said. “I’ve been here and done that and bought the T-shirt.

“But I am trying to be patient and work with the team to get us to a good place so that’s all I can say. I’m not planning on going anywhere.”

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2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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