Lewis Hamilton admits ‘shock’ as he issues warning to Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton is determined to remain positive about the ability of Mercedes to compete in 2023 despite being far behind their championship rivals.

Lewis Hamilton has opened up about the ability of Mercedes to remain in contention for a title in 2023, as the team has struggled to keep up with the pace on show from Red Bull. 

Issuing a warning to reigning world champion Max Verstappen, Hamilton claimed that he “will win again” despite the inability of Mercedes to adjust to the new set of regulations introduced in 2022.

The biggest change in regulations ever seen in the sport has turned Formula One on its head, as the eight-time Constructors’ Champions have dropped from the front of the grid.

Hamilton hasn’t won a race since Saudi Arabia in 2021 and only managed to secure five podium places across the entire 2022 season.

READ: Lewis Hamilton makes cheeky remark about calling Mercedes out

The 2022 season was especially challenging for Hamilton, as his new teammate George Russell outscored him and even managed to secure the only race win for Mercedes of the season.

“It’s just going to take some time. Of course in 2021 when we were here [in Saudi Arabia], we were hoping to be fighting for another World Championship. You know, you never know what’s up ahead,” Hamilton told reporters after the race in Jeddah.

“There will be things that happen in all of our lives that we least expect. But it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up. It’s how you deal with it,” Hamilton added.  

“It’s how you show up. It’s how you continue to remain positive and tackle the issues that you’re faced with. And so that’s where my energy is going. And that’s what every single person in the team is focused on.”

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The seven-time world champion admitted that Mercedes have been shocked by their lack of pace in 2023 based on what they saw during the off season.

“I think the comments that I would hear [during the off-season] is that we probably won’t hit the ground straight away at the front but we should be there or thereabouts,” Hamilton said.

“So yeah, it was a bit of a shock when that wasn’t obviously the case.”

READ: FIA denies backing down in Lewis Hamilton row

“We will hopefully mould it into a winning car at some stage,” Hamilton said in a warning shot to Red Bull.

Even if Mercedes fixes their car, they will be fighting an uphill battle in 2023, as Red Bull has taken an early lead in the Constructors’ Championship with 87 points out of 88 points in the first two races.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are locked in a tight battle for the Drivers’ title, with the Dutchman on 44 points and the Mexican on 43 points, while Hamilton is down on 20 points and Russell is on 18 points.