Former Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson reckons that Sir Lewis Hamilton is ready to tear down the competition to claim his record eighth championship this year.
The Briton was controversially denied the title on the very last lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, as a bizarre Safety Car restart by then race director Michael Masi led to a final lap overtake from Max Verstappen to take his maiden crown.
The 37-year-old had been on course to take victory in all four of the final rounds of the season having dominated proceedings at the Yas Marina Circuit, and left no illusions as to his confidence to not only maintain, but better his form in 2022.
“If you think what you saw at the end of last year was my best, wait until you see this year,” he told reporters at the unveiling of the W13.
Davidson sees this as an absolute certainty that Hamilton is not here to play games this season, and his mentality is a bad omen for his competitors.
“When Lewis Hamilton comes out with a sentence like that, you have to take notice,” he told Sky.
“He sure is fired up to win this thing once and for all and I think he’ll be hard to beat. He’s certainly coming into this season with a very bullish mentality.”
Mercedes are holding the FIA “accountable” for an enquiry they are carrying out into the late events of last season’s title race, and Masi has now been removed as race director amid a complete revamp of race control.
This was not enough for the Hamilton “crusaders” on social media, who have since been calling for the championship classification to be overturned in his favour.
Davidson, who contested 24 races with Super Aguri in 2007 and 2008, maintains that there is nothing his compatriot’s fans would love more than to see him comprehensively beat Verstappen and power his way to title number eight.
“There will be nothing more than Lewis wants from this season than to destroy Max Verstappen,” he added.
“Let’s not beat around a bush – he feels absolutely robbed as to what happened last year in Abu Dhabi, he wants to come out with a dominant car and he doesn’t even want to see Max on track, I’m sure.
“He just wants to show him a clean pair of heels, disappear off into the distance and win his eighth world championship.”
Hamilton has been partnered by George Russell ahead of the 2022 season after the 24-year-old was signed to replace Valtteri Bottas, while Verstappen will continue to race alongside Sergio Perez, who played an influential role in securing the 24-year-old’s victory in 2021.