Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Lewis Hamilton is at his “most dangerous” right now because his back is against the wall. That’s the verdict of Mark Webber, who has warned Ferrari and Red Bull not to write off Mercedes and their main man Hamilton.
Hamilton has ruled himself out of challenging for this year’s Drivers’ Championship after just four races of the season, having amassed just 28 points in that time. That leaves him 58 behind the championship leader, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Max Verstappen is also 31 points clear of the Briton, against whom he competed for the title last year, despite two retirements. Yet Webber, a nine-time Grand Prix winner with Red Bull, insists Hamilton must not be written off.
That’s despite Mercedes’ issues with porpoising. Despite the team’s problems, George Russell has dealt far better with the W13’s problems to amass 49 points – nearly double Hamilton’s total thus far. Still, Webber has warned Leclerc and Verstappen that seven-time champion Hamilton is at his best when the odds are stacked against him.
The Australian told the Daily Star: “I think people are being pretty harsh, pretty fast on Lewis. In Bahrain he drove brilliantly to third place. In Saudi there was a safety car involved there with a pit stop. Same in Melbourne.
“So I think there have been quite a few points he’s missed through no fault of his own and he was very quick in Melbourne in the race. But he lost a lot of time with that stop. It’s only Imola where he had a tricky qualy and race. Of course, everyone’s forgetting how the other points were lost through no fault of his own.
“George is driving brilliantly – very, very good for him – and it’s good to have the youngsters threatening the established drivers. That’s what it should be about – Lewis would never shy away from that.
“But never, ever underestimate an organisation like those guys [Mercedes]. Lewis is at his most dangerous with his back against the wall. He’s never short of motivation – that’s why he’s probably the greatest of all time.”
Hamilton admits this weekend’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix is “nerve-wracking”. He told Good Morning America: “It’s a bit nerve-racking because I think it’s going to be a huge event for us. We obviously had the race in Austin, Texas, which has always been amazing.
“The first race I had out here was Indianapolis in 2007. But now, with Netflix Drive to Survive series growing, we have two Grands Prix in the States and we have another one in Las Vegas next year. It’s going to be huge.
“I’ve been coming out here for a long time, but never understood why people weren’t into Formula One. Everyone knew Nascar and obviously there are such huge sporting fans out here and this Netflix show, particularly through the pandemic, has just brought massive awareness to the sport and now it’s booming.”
Mercedes could bring in some upgrades for Miami with the team’s trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin confirming recently: “We are hoping to bring parts to the car soon, maybe even Miami where we can hopefully see progress on this issue.”
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