Lewis Hamilton admits he’s not ‘bullish’ as George Russell warned of pressure

2022 was Lewis Hamilton's worst season in his Formula 1 career, after failing to claim a pole position or a victory.

2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button is expecting seven-time World Champion and former team-mate Lewis Hamilton to “be on it from the word go” in 2023, in order to bounce back from last season.

2022 was a very non-Hamilton season, with the 38-year-old having slumped to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship, largely due to a woeful car.

Mercedes, though, have worked relentlessly over the winter to ensure that they bounce back in the forthcoming season, with the key being to get their crown back from Red Bull.

Hamilton, of course, is also still searching for an unprecedented eighth World Championship, something he’ll have to perform at his very best to achieve.

READ: What have Mercedes done over the winter to give Lewis Hamilton a better car?

Button is confident that Hamilton will be in the mix this season and predicts that his former McLaren team-mate will start 2023 “flat out”, putting him amongst the title fight.

“It is something we all go through at some point in our career and it’s a reason why a lot of people retire,” Button told Sky Sports F1.

“They’re not in a winning car anymore and that’s why I left. You can deal with the pressure you put yourself under and the calendar if you’re in a winning car. When you’re not, then you are like ‘you know what, I’ve had enough. I want to get out.’

“Mercedes have given him a winning car for so many years. Last year obviously they didn’t, but the car did win a race last year.

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“So you’d say at the end of the year, they were strong and I think Lewis was on it. His performances were very consistent through mid to end of season. Very, very quick.

“I think he’ll start this year flat out. He’s going to be on it from the word go. So I look forward to seeing that.

“It’s going to put a lot of pressure on George Russell at Mercedes but I think it’s a good pairing and I look forward to that fight.”

READ: Claire Williams makes shock return to Williams

A Mercedes comeback is certainly on the cards given the work they’ve done during the off-season; however, Hamilton is refusing to give too much away ahead of pre-season testing and is remaining “cautious”.

“I wouldn’t say I’m bullish like I was last year, I would say just more cautious,” Hamilton told RaceFans.

“Hopefully we hit the ground running, but it’s not always the case. I think we showed last year that whatever we’re faced with, we can recover. So that’s what we’ll try to do this year.”