July 23, 2024

Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion in Formula One, has extended his contract with Mercedes, but he will have to work hard to win back the title after a difficult campaign.

Lewis Hamilton is concerned about Red Bull’s forward planning pace for the 2024 season heading into the next campaign, according to Sky Sports reporter Craig Slater.

With Max Verstappen winning the drivers’ championship with weeks to spare and Sergio Perez coming in second, Red Bull has dominated the 2023 campaign. In Mexico City, Hamilton caught up to Perez by finishing in second place while his opponent did not, but with three races left, the two are still 20 points apart.

By agreeing to a contract extension with Mercedes, Hamilton put an end to rumors about his future and will remain with the team through the 2025 campaign. And even though the seven-time world champion has kept improving in the last few races of the current season, Slater thinks Hamilton, like his competitors, is thinking ahead to 2024.

Slater stated on the Sky Sports F1 podcast that “I think next season is already being contested in a way” (via PlanetF1). “It seems to me that Lewis Hamilton is constantly thinking about the location of the car for next year and the degree to which certain upgrades that will be important for it are being implemented at the end of this season.

He has control over that once more and is obviously concerned about how early Red Bull began working on the car for next year. Therefore, I believe that you do get an idea from these kinds of end-of-season races that the teams are starting to gather their thoughts about who might be where next year.

“And from a morale standpoint, I believe [Mercedes] will try to get some results in now, but Lewis Hamilton is clearly shifting his focus to 2024.”

But Hamilton hasn’t forgotten that there are still three races in 2023. In fact, despite evident concerns, he has issued a challenge to world champion Verstappen ahead of the upcoming Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.

“I anticipate Red Bull will blitz it because their car is great,” Hamilton told reporters “But if that is not the case, I will be ready to take the fight to them.

“If it can be anything like Austin and we can get our strategy better, than that would be incredible. I came away empty handed last season – I don’t plan on that this year.”

“After the last couple of races I have been getting messages from people saying, ‘It is looking good.’,” he added. “But I said to them, ‘Well, it was looking good at the end of last year, too, but we started this season 1.5 seconds behind’.

“I am not dazzled by where we are currently. But I am thinking long-term at the moment, and in the short term, trying to solidify second in the constructors.”

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