Lewis Hamilton makes Mercedes demand as new contract remains elusive

Red Bull boast a 135-point lead over Mercedes following the Spanish GP.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his second podium of the 2023 Formula 1 season last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix, as the Mercedes driver matched his P2 from the Australian Grand Prix.

Having struggled on Friday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Hamilton made significant progress on Saturday on Sunday.

After qualifying fourth, Hamilton quickly progressed to second in the opening stages of the race, where he remained until the chequered flag.

The six-time Spanish GP winner showed really good pace throughout the seventh race of the year; however, he still ended up 24 seconds behind winner Max Verstappen.

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Red Bull were again completely dominant, with the Austrians now boasting a 135-point lead over Mercedes.

Hamilton’s current fear is that with Red Bull being so strong, the Milton Keynes-based side will likely be able to start working on their 2024 car before everyone else, giving them an advantage going into next season.

This simply can’t happen in the Briton’s eyes, with him admitting that he wants to fight Red Bull from “day one” next season, due to recognising that catching the Austrians this year realistically won’t happen.

“With the current car we have I don’t think we’ll be matching their performance, but we are working on improving the car,” explained Hamilton.

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“With the current package we are limited to the pace that we had today, but there’s a huge amount of work and studying and improvements that we hopefully will have coming in the future.

“Naturally they should probably also be progressing through the year, so we need to be taking big chunks out of them with every step we take.

“Today they were a good few tenths ahead of us, maybe half a second ahead of us per lap. On a single lap that’s a little bit bigger.

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“I think we are going in the right direction and I know we have something in the pipeline moving forwards.

“I’m hoping at least by the end of the year it would be great if we could challenge them. For me I’m more focused on making sure that we have the car next year to challenge them from day one.

“The further we continue to push this car this year, the more that impacts next year also in some ways. The more we learn about this car also sets us in the right direction. It’s trying to find the right balance.”