F1: Lewis Hamilton warns rivals he will win again despite Mercedes’ woeful start to new season

F1: Lewis Hamilton warns rivals he will win again despite Mercedes’ woeful start to new season

Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals that he will win again despite the sorry state of Mercedes this season.

The 38-year-old has been vocally critical of the team for pursuing the wrong technical path with the W14 while Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff admitted he was ready to start all over again with this year’s car.

But seven-time world champion Hamilton is confident he can still add to his tally of 103 grand prix victories despite him and Mercedes having a mountain to climb in 2023.

Speaking ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, he said: “I will win again. But it’s just going to take some time.”

Hamilton endured the first winless season of his prestigious Formula 1 career last year and the early indications are a victory will be hard to come by this season, such is the dominance of Max Verstappen and his Red Bull.

Verstappen, who arrived a day late in Saudi Arabia this week because of a stomach bug, won the season opener in Bahrain with the next fastest car after the Red Bulls nearly 40 seconds behind.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Gearbox overheating for both the Dutchman and Sergio Perez nearly derailed their races late on but Hamilton said reliability was the only thing likely to ruin their race-winning hopes in Jeddah and beyond.

Looking back to Bahrain, Hamilton said: “In the race, they weren’t pushing so they’re a lot quicker than they even seemed. We have them one-and-a-half seconds faster in the race… something like that.”

Unlike last year when the Mercedes was undone by porpoising, they do not lack for straight-line speed but are losing pace in the corners with a lack of downforce.

And Hamilton admitted he knew from the moment he sat in this year’s car that his title ambitions were over for another season.

“It’s a shock when you find out the car isn’t where you want it to be,” he said. “We’re not where we want to be or where we need to be but you keep working on it.

“You never know what’s up ahead. There will be things that happen, which we least expect. It’s not how you fall, it’s how you get up.

“We need the Red Bulls not to finish the race, the Ferrais not to finish the race and maybe the Aston Martins… to win the race. We need to catch up.”