Lewis Hamilton reveals contrasting approach to Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton has provided insights into his and Max Verstappen's differing strategies, as the Mercedes driver targets a comeback.

With fans craving a fierce battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, the 2023 season has fallen short of expectations so far. 

As Red Bull’s development path proved smoother than Mercedes’ since the regulations overhaul in 2022, Verstappen and Red Bull have enjoyed a dominant period reminiscent of Hamilton’s legendary career. 

With the Canadian Grand Prix looming, the focus now turns to Mercedes’ progress and whether they can confirm their positive development at a track known for its differences compared to Barcelona, where they achieved their first double podium of the season.

Amidst the anticipation, Hamilton offered fans a unique glimpse into the divergent approaches he and Verstappen adopt for each F1 race weekend, primarily driven by the capabilities of their respective cars. 

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“Once you get on top of the car and the car works in this window, and it’s consistent, it’s much easier to get it into that setup,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.

“When you are with a car like I have, for example, you’re trying everything, every different setup and combination to try and eke out a little bit more performance.

“But when you have performance in hand, you are not necessarily always having to make risky choices throughout practice in order to get that extra half a tenth.

“You don’t have to push the bodywork as tight as possible, put the engine on the rim of the temperature because you have a little bit of breathing space.

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“Then you don’t have to push the tyres as hard, so you can lift and coast a little bit more, which ultimately means longer stints. All these different things compound and the more you practice it, the easier it gets.

“But you still have a job to deliver, you still have to be focused and still can’t make mistakes, still have to make the right decisions and that comes with a lot of pressure.”

Hamilton acknowledged the advantages of driving a well-performing car within a consistent setup window, reducing the need for risky choices and allowing him to extract every bit of performance. 

In contrast, with a car like his, he finds himself exploring various setups and combinations to squeeze out more performance, pushing the boundaries during practice sessions.

The differences extend beyond setup choices. Hamilton explains that when a car offers performance in hand, drivers have breathing space to push less aggressively, allowing them to lift and coast, thus preserving tires and enabling longer stints. 

These accumulated advantages compound over time, making the process easier. Nonetheless, Hamilton emphasized the continued pressure and the need to deliver results, requiring focus, decision-making, and avoiding mistakes.

Despite the absence of an F1 victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Hamilton remains determined and relishes the challenge presented to him. 

He maintains his unwavering focus on the task at hand and emphasized the importance of controlling what he can while pushing the team forward. 

Hamilton dismissed any notion of complacency, highlighting the satisfaction of competing with a competitive car and finding joy in the short-term process of making strategic decisions.

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“For me, it was easy just to stay focused on the job in hand and focus on the things I can control and making sure the team is consistently pushing forward,” he said.

“I never got tired of it or comfortable. It’s a great feeling when you know you have got a car you can compete with. From our perspective, we know we are not fighting for a win, so it’s arriving hopeful that you can find a little bit of magic in the weekend.

“Every small decision, every position that you get in qualifying makes that difference and I would say I’ve been enjoying this more, for the short term.”