Lewis Hamilton ruled out of 2023 title battle ‘unless something really weird happens’

Mercedes are aiming to bounce back from their woeful 2022 campaign this year, in order to prove that last season was just a blip.

Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz is certain that seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton will not be in the title fight this season “unless something really weird happens”, following a disappointing pre-season for Mercedes.

The Germans entered pre-season testing full of belief; however, this quickly turned to despair on day two after George Russell stopped on-track following a hydraulic problem.

This wasn’t Mercedes’ only issue, as they also struggled with the W14’s balance and rear grip, of which they appeared to have very little of.

Red Bull and Ferrari look set to once again be several tenths faster than the Silver Arrows, with Kravitz predicting that Mercedes won’t be seen back in the title fight until 2024.

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“Unless something really weird happens. Lewis is not going to win an eighth championship this year is it,” Kravitz told Sky Sports F1’s Vodcast.

“Eventually he is still looking for an eighth. The other ‘E’ word at Mercedes is eventually. Toto said at the launch, ‘we hope to have a car capable of challenging for the championship eventually’.

“George Russell used eventually twice in one answer at day two in the press conference in Bahrain. I mean they are still catching up from how many months they were behind, nine, ten, eleven months behind with last year’s car.

“I think it’s going to take another year for Mercedes at least.” 

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2023 is supposed to be the season where Mercedes bounce back from their woeful 2022 campaign, where they slumped to third in the Constructors’ Championship following eight years of domination.

Mercedes won the title every season from 2014-2021, before their downfall last season.

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2023 is Mercedes’ chance to prove that last year was simply a blip; however, it looks more like a “one dominant team unravelling”.

“Championship dominant teams always unravel sooner or later. Ferrari unravelled, Ross Brawn left, Jean Todt left, Michael Schumacher. The Red Bull team with Sebastian Vettel after a rules change. Dominant teams eventually unravel and it’s cyclical.

“Good people leave. Andy Coles gone, James Allison’s gone on to a higher role, Niki Lauda passed away, James Vowles has gone now. Is the once dominant team unravelling?”