‘I am ready to win a world championship’: Lewis Hamilton insists he is better prepared than EVER this season as the Brit outlines his desire to win his eighth title… but concedes his Mercedes won’t improve overnight
- Hamilton gained his first podium this year with second-place finish in Australia
- Whilst waiting for improvements on W14, driver will focus on ‘cheeky’ finishes
- Not all doom and gloom for Mercedes: SEVEN THINGS we learned in Melbourne
Lewis Hamilton has declared himself in the ‘best ever’ shape to contest a world championship – but acknowledges that there is an element of waiting for his Mercedes to ‘come correct’ if he is to enter the fight seriously.
At the start of the season, the W14 appeared to be suffering a hangover from 2022, which saw Hamilton dub the car ‘undriveable’ and the seven-time world champion finish sixth in the drivers standings.
But after failing to get onto the podium in either Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, the constructor had an altogether more promising weekend in Melbourne.
Hamilton and his team-mate George Russell finished third and second respectively in qualifying, and the driver clung on in a stop-start affair at Albert Park to make the podium with second place.
Whilst admitting that, for the moment, the team would be focusing on ‘cheeky’ results as they continue to improve the car, Hamilton was bullish about his desire to be in contention for the top prize.
A strong day of qualifying helped Lewis Hamilton secure his first podium of the new season
The seven-time champion stressed that his preparations for a fight were the ‘best ever’
‘I am ready to win a world championship,’ he stated in an interview with Fox Sports.
‘I have prepared the best way I can this year – the best I have ever prepared – and if the car comes correct tomorrow I will be ready to fight for the world championship, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
‘I am working with everyone here and back at the factory to get there.’
Before the charmed day of qualifying at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, team principal Toto Wolff tamped down expectations about an improved Mercedes car, saying that they were unlikely to see results ‘before Imola’.
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the storied circuit is set to take place at the end of May, and Wolff said that the longer lead time to seeing the difference was about making sure the improvements were completed the ‘right’ way.
In the meantime, Hamilton stressed, he would focus on fine margins he could gain from the car as it is.
‘I don’t like driving not great cars. I don’t like driving a car that’s not the car that we weren’t meant to have, but I love that challenge of ‘okay, what can I do with it?’, he added.
‘Wins are not possible right, so what is the maximum we can get? Can we be a little cheeky and if fifth is the best we can get, can we get a fourth or a third?
But he continues to struggle with the W14 amidst the race against time to improve the car
‘Just make sure we are consistent and fit and ready so when the car does all of a sudden switch on, and it is the car you dreamed of having, you’re ready.’
The British driver did not go into details about the scale of his preparations for placing himself in the best possible position to challenge for the championship, but his comments come less than a month after Hamilton parted ways with his long-term trainer, Angela Cullen.
The duo had worked together for seven years, during which time he won four of his world championships.
Beyond his own limitations, Hamilton’s world championship bid is most keenly threatened by Red Bull’s dominance, and that of its star driver Max Verstappen.
Following the team’s one-two finish at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Hamilton said that he had ‘definitely never seen a car so fast’ as this year’s R19.
Verstappen, the current world champion, sits atop the drivers standings after sealing his first Australian Grand Prix win on Sunday.
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