Max Verstappen wins third consecutive Formula One world championship
Hopes of a Mercedes victory in Las Vegas this weekend are looking like a long shot at best, according to the men tasked with driving the team’s Formula One cars around the circuit. The Brackley-based outfit sits second in the constructors’ championship but a whopping 400 points behind runaway leaders Red Bull.
Former world champion Lewis Hamilton secured a second-placed finish at the Mexican Grand Prix but was frustrated to come eighth last time out in Brazil, while teammate George Russell did not finish the race.
Hamilton is currently third in the divers’ championship, 70 points ahead of eighth-placed Russell, but the 25-year-old says that the pair have encountered similar barriers to progress all season – issues that must be resolved if either are to make a realistic challenge to Max Verstappen next season.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Russell said: “We have different driving styles, but the fundamental limitations that we both face are the same. We’re cautiously optimistic going into next year.
“We’re not sat here thinking why are we slow? We know why we’re slow, we’ve got so many issues with this car and so many problems that we want to solve so that gives us hope that if we do solve them we can make a big step forward.”
Hamilton is currently on the longest streak without a win in his Formula One career, a drought he came close to ending in Mexico, but the seven-times world champion accepts that there is a lot of work still to be done before he can even think about winning Grands Prix regularly, let alone another world title.
Hamilton said: “I 100 per cent know what when wrong there [in Brazil]. But ultimately we didn’t do a good job. But a lot of learnings from it in terms of where we need to go, where we need to develop.
“To be fair, there’s always a lot of things that you mostly learn from those experiences. Coming here (Las Vegas) I think we hopefully have a better approach but we still don’t know how the car is going to be here. It’s still not a championship-winning car and I don’t think it’s even a race-winning car still.
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“We’ve so much work that we’ve done through the year already. I’m on a group Teams chat basically with different departments and I’ll always be checking in but of course, I have to unplug. I have to leave the guys to do what they do best, but I’m always going to be like ‘I wonder how it’s going’.
“But you’ve got to give them time, it takes time to develop. It’s small steps each week and on top of that I’ve got to get my head in the right place, get fit, prepare for the next season and spend some time with my family. It’s been a killer season.”
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