Lewis Hamilton delivers blunt comeback on Mercedes ‘fourth fastest’ team assessment

by 24britishtvMay 6, 2024, 9:01 p.m. 26
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Lewis Hamilton does not see the importance of defining where Mercedes are in the pecking order after George Russell referred to them as the “fourth-fastest team”.

Mercedes wanted to be leading the charge to reel in the dominant Red Bull team in F1 2024, but that ambition is yet to be realised with the eight-time Constructors’ champions sitting a comfortable fourth in the standings and yet to score a podium.

Red Bull suffered a rare defeat in Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix as McLaren’s Lando Norris raced to victory for the first time in his F1 career, while for Mercedes, Hamilton’s P6 finish and Russell’s P8 was the best they could manage.

That had Russell claiming that Mercedes are “the fourth-fastest team at the moment”, as Hamilton was then asked for his response on that assessment, one which he did not want to entertain.

Asked by media after the Miami GP whether he agreed with Russell’s claim, Hamilton replied: “I don’t know. I don’t really see the point, the reason, the importance of that.

“You’ve seen where we qualified, you’ve seen where we are in the championships. So make your assumptions from that.”

Mercedes were not exactly out of the conversation in Miami though, Hamilton having fallen less than two-tenths short of denying Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz P5, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez only a couple of seconds up the road.

And so that ability to keep these rivals in his sights was a “great feeling” for the seven-time World Champion.

“I had a good race today,” Hamilton confirmed, “I didn’t have the pace of the guys ahead of me, but I was just able to hold on with DRS.

“But, if it wasn’t for the DRS, they probably would have…they did start to pull away towards the end.

“But still, to keep them in distance is a really great feeling. But also, I was on an offset tyre [strategy], but not to Checo though, so I was actually on the same tyre as him.”

Hamilton is very familiar with the Miami GP race-winning team McLaren, having begun his Formula 1 career there in a stint which lasted from 2007-12, Hamilton winning his first World Championship with McLaren in 2008.

So to see his former team back on the top step of the podium went down very well with Hamilton.

“I had my first win with McLaren, so really happy to see McLaren back up there,” said Hamilton. “The whole team has done an amazing job.

“I was with them from 13 years old. So you know, so happy, it’s still a big part of my heart there. So really happy to see them get back at the top and also dethrone the Bulls.

“And then Lando, I know Lando quite well, we’ve got a peaceful relationship. I know what it’s like to get that first Grand Prix win and how special it is. So, I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Hamilton has not tasted victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Read next: What are Mercedes thinking? Martin Brundle’s verdict as customer team McLaren upstage engine supplier

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