With his Austin performance, Lewis Hamilton feels he has proven he is “still here” and will return to the top when Mercedes builds the right car.
Hamilton was the dominant force of the turbo-hybrid era, winning six driver titles in the past nine seasons, but the last two World Championships have been won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The 2021 season saw an epic battle between Hamilton and Verstappen, the title race going all the way to the final lap of the season, Verstappen passed Hamilton to claim his first World Championship and denied Hamilton a record eighth.
But 2022 failed to reproduce those scenes, Verstappen having won 13 of 19 races so far, being crowned world champion after his win over Suzuka when there were four laps to go.
Hamilton, meanwhile, is without a win this season, with just three attempts left to extend his streak of winning at least one race in all his F1 seasons.
It was a disappointing start to the campaign for Hamilton as Mercedes’ struggles came to full effect, but the Briton has moved closer to his former form over the course of the season, his performance at the United States Grand Prix was a real Highlight.
Verstappen’s closest challenger throughout the race, a win was up for Hamilton after a poor Red Bull pit stop dropped Verstappen to P3, but with the RB18 fast in a straight line, Verstappen was able to pass Charles Leclerc and Hamilton to save the win, although Hamilton did everything in his power to take that first win of 2022.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Hamilton explained that his performance at the Circuit of The Americas, where he has won five times before, proved he can still compete at the very highest level.
So once Mercedes producing a car worthy of being a leader again, Hamilton knows he will put the Silver Arrows back on top.
Asked how much it would mean for the team to get that win, plus the prospect of denying Ferrari? P2 at the constructorsHamilton replied: “I can’t put into words how much it would mean to the team.
“Especially with everything that’s going on, everything that happened in the last race last year, what happened this year in terms of performance and then what happened to all the news and everything.
“So getting a win would be a huge triumph for all of us and hugely rewarding, but I think for today I think we had a good pace. I’m still here and I know that when they build the car I will take it to the top, so we just have to keep working.”
Lewis Hamilton is still at that elite level
Indeed, according to Hamilton, he proved at the United States Grand Prix that only the car is stopping him from challenging for that record eighth title and beyond.
They were certainly shadows of 2021 as Verstappen and Hamilton struggled for the lead in Austin – not in terms of crashing but it had that hard racing feel that represented the best of their 2021 battle, Hamilton did everything he could to keep Verstappen behind hold and search for a route back through immediately after the Dutchman had passed.
There was no going back to the lead for Hamilton, the RB18 in Verstappen’s hands superior to the Mercedes W13, but after looking rather odd for the first half of the campaign, it’s safe to say Hamilton is now back on track. his best .
So if Mercedes can create a challenger for 2023 to take on Red Bull, Hamilton is ready for that challenge.