Lewis Hamilton warned about Mercedes doing ‘really badly’ on purpose

Damon Hill has warned Lewis Hamilton about Mercedes sabotaging their season amid contract talks.

Mercedes, the dominant force in Formula 1 in recent years, could be contemplating an unconventional strategy to enhance their car performance for the 2024 season. 

Sky Sports pundit Damon Hill believes that deliberately scoring worse results for the remainder of this year could provide the Silver Arrows with an advantage over their fierce rivals, Red Bull.

Despite notable improvements showcased in Barcelona, Mercedes acknowledged that they still have a considerable gap to bridge to match Red Bull’s car performance. 

The Spanish Grand Prix witnessed Mercedes securing their first double podium finish of the year, with Lewis Hamilton clinching second place and teammate George Russell making an impressive ascent from 12th on the grid to join him on the podium. 

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However, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the race with a clear advantage over his closest rivals.

Acknowledging the continued dominance of Red Bull, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff conceded that their recent progress was vital for the battle to secure second place in the championship. 

However, closing the gap with the runaway leaders, spearheaded by Max Verstappen, seems unlikely in the near future.

Considering this predicament, Hill proposes an unorthodox approach. 

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Instead of striving to compete at their utmost, the 1996 world champion suggested intentionally finishing lower in the championship standings to leverage a regulatory advantage. 

The team that finishes lower gains more wind tunnel testing time in the subsequent year, allowing them to enhance their car’s performance. 

Hill contended that Mercedes should strategically exploit this system to bolster their chances in 2024.

“Ironically, the better Mercedes do [in 2023], the less scope they’ve got for the following year,” Hill explained. 

“You kind of wonder whether Mercedes ought to be thinking about doing really badly between now and the end of the year. 

“I think when you’ve got the budget and you can spend it but you can’t because you did so well the previous season, then it kind of makes you wonder whether you ought to do really badly. 

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“If you’re not going to win this year, you want to win next year.”

This proposal raises ethical questions regarding sporting integrity, as intentionally performing poorly goes against the spirit of fair competition. 

However, Hill’s suggestion highlights the unique challenges faced by teams that have consistently excelled in previous seasons and subsequently face regulatory limitations due to their prior successes.