Lewis Hamilton said he does not plan on coming away empty handed from the Brazilian Grand Prix – in what could be his best chance of ending a two-year winless streak.
On Sunday, it will mark 700 days since Hamilton last won following Mercedes’ failure to provide the seven-time world champion with a machine to match Max Verstappen’s all-conquering Red Bull.
However, Mercedes claimed their sole victory of last season in Interlagos, with George Russell leading Hamilton home in a surprise one-two finish.Lewis Hamilton, left, has been unable to challenge Max Verstappen’s Red Bull this season (Fernando Llano/AP)
Hamilton also claimed one of the finest victories of his career here two years ago, and took his maiden world title on Brazilian soil back in 2008.
And speaking in Sao Paulo, with only rounds to follow in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, Hamilton said: “I anticipate Red Bull will blitz it because their car is great.
“But if that is not the case, I will be ready to take the fight to them, and if it can be anything like Austin (where Hamilton finished second before he was disqualified) and we can get our strategy better, than that would be incredible.
“I came away empty handed last season. I don’t plan on that this year.”
— Lewis Hamilton (LewisHamilton) November 2, 2023
Hamilton finished runner-up to Verstappen in Mexico last weekend – 13.8 seconds behind the Dutchman – with Mercedes 22 points clear of Ferrari in the race for second place in the constructors’ championship.
Hamilton is only 20 points behind second-placed Sergio Perez in the drivers’ standings.
But Hamilton added: “After the last couple of races I have been getting messages from people saying, ‘it is looking good.’ But I said to them ‘well, it was looking good at the end of last year, too, but we started this season 1.5 seconds behind’.
“I am not dazzled by where we are currently. But I am thinking long-term at the moment, and in the short term, trying to solidify second in the constructors.”
DRIVER STANDINGSThe battle for P2 hots up, while Sainz overtakes Alonso for P4 #F1 #MexicoGP pic./e3DbNRpPy3
— Formula 1 (F1) October 29, 2023
Hamilton was handed a boost in his bid to take second spot in the individual standings after Verstappen hinted he will not help team-mate Perez.
Verstappen, who wrapped up his third world championship in Qatar last month, and claimed a record 16th win of the season five days ago in Mexico City, said: “At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter on me to get the points (for Perez).
“I am confident in Sergio that he can stay ahead. On average, we have had the fastest car this season. Let’s hope we don’t need to get into that situation.”