Lewis Hamilton makes surprising comment on removing Max Verstappen from ‘equation’

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen had a titanic title fight in 2021, coming to blows on several occasions.

Lewis Hamilton has called for Mercedes to “level up” across the remaining eight races of the 2023 season, in order to make the most of any scenario.

Mercedes head to the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend on the back of a miserable Italian Grand Prix, where the Silver Arrows were comfortably slower than both Red Bull and Mercedes.

George Russell and Hamilton had to settle for fifth and sixth at Monza, whilst Red Bull stormed to yet another 1-2 finish.

There is a genuine belief that Red Bull are going to go the entire season unbeaten, something which has never been achieved before.

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has been very critical of Red Bull’s dominance and the side not having two drivers fighting for position, something the Austrian believes the Germans had during their dominant spell.

Hamilton, too, has hit out at Red Bull for never giving Max Verstappen a competitive team-mate, although he has since admitted that the Austrians have done an “exceptional job” to achieve what they have done this season.

Verstappen and chief technical officer Adrian Newey have both been key to the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s dominance, although Hamilton wouldn’t want to see either leave to improve Mercedes’ chances.

Instead, the 38-year-old wants Mercedes to rise to Red Bull’s level, to capitalise on any error the side make.

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“I was asked a question earlier, would I rather take Max out of the equation or take [Red Bull design chief] Adrian Newey out of the equation? And I was like ‘neither’” Hamilton said.

“We just have to level up and do a better job. They have done an exceptional job. You can’t fault them for the amazing work they are collectively doing and have done.

“I just want to level up, all of us, so there is a lot of opportunity in these next eight races, just trying to make sure we are prepared to be there if something does happen to be coming our way. We remain hopeful for that.”

This weekend at the Marina Bay Circuit is seen by many as Red Bull’s toughest remaining race to win, given how unpredictable the Singapore GP can be.

Ferrari and Mercedes have both been quick in Singapore over recent years and is a venue where Hamilton has been victorious four times.

Interestingly, Verstappen has never won at the Marina Bay Circuit, whereas Sergio Perez claimed the win 12 months ago.

With all of that in mind, Hamilton is hopeful that this weekend can be a good one for Mercedes, to the extent that he’s targeting a podium come Sunday.

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“I think we were relatively competitive last year, but we had not such a great race,” Hamilton recalled.

“But given the car we had last year, I’m hoping the car has progressed quite a lot since last year.

“So hopefully, we are maybe a little bit closer than to the front. I’m hoping we can fight for a podium. I’ll find out on Friday with everybody, but that’s the reality.”