F1 Report: Why Hamilton is still the only driver who can challenge Verstappen….

Lewis Hamilton drove a stunning race at the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix to take just his third second place of the Formula 1 season and it showed the seven-time world champion is not going away anytime soon.

It was one of Hamilton‘s most underrated drives as he used sweet finesse to get 36 laps out of a scrubbed set of mediums on a track which is very difficult to get the tyres into the optimal working window.

Hamilton has not won for nearly two years in F1, with his last victory coming at the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP, and he’s seen Max Verstappen set new records and take win after win.

That must hurt him, and Mercedes, but there’s still that fire and intensity about Hamilton which no other driver has to match or beat Verstappen.

Leclerc overtake reminded fans about Hamilton

One area where you could criticise Hamilton is his racecraft. But, he’s shown real aggression and got his elbows out in recent events – first against his teammate George Russell at Suzuka, outfoxed Lando Norris in Austin and bravely outmanoeuvred Charles Leclerc in Mexico City.

Hamilton knew he needed to get by Leclerc quickly on Sunday before his medium tyres started overheating and was moving the car around to try and get out of the dirty air from the Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton in action during the 2023 Mexico City GP | Mercedes

The 2023 Mercedes car is draggy and Ferrari have strong straight line speed, so Hamilton needed to use up all his ERS (energy recovery system), DRS and a slipstream just to get alongside on the run to Turn 1.

He was left a car’s width to the right and dipped two wheels onto the grass, keeping his foot pinned down on the throttle and made the move stick.

“In general, we’ve were quite draggy on the straights more often than not but this weekend,” said Hamilton.

“We were losing like two-and-a-half tenths just into Turn 1 before we even start braking. So, these guys were very slippery on the straights so, trying to follow closely through Turns 16 and 17 was, was really the only way that I could get close enough and have an opportunity to make the DRS impactful.

“I pressed every button on the steering wheel, maximum power. And I didn’t know how far across he was going to go. But split second decision, I decided to go to the right. There’s just enough space there but Charles was really fair. Great racing.”

That racing instinct is still there and it’s almost as if Hamilton is re-building that aggression after perhaps losing out far too often to some of the younger drivers in wheel to wheel combat.

Hamilton knows he needs to be the driver on the attack when racing Verstappen, rather than getting bullied like he arguably did in parts of 2021.






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