Hamilton wants to ’get closer’ to Verstappen in Brazil
"Whether our package is good enough to beat Max..."
After finishing second at the chequered flag to Max Verstappen at the last two grands prix, Lewis Hamilton thinks he might "get closer" to the Red Bull this weekend in Brazil.
It was at Interlagos a year ago that George Russell had his breakthrough Formula 1 win - with Hamilton second.
And now, as Mercedes has made very real steps of improvement lately, another similar result might be a real possibility again this weekend.
"I was hoping maybe there’d be an opportunity to get closer to Max," said Hamilton after finishing 14 seconds behind the top Red Bull in Mexico.
"But maybe next week."
Team boss Toto Wolff is also hopeful, but he warns that Verstappen and Red Bull clearly still have the edge.
The Austrian began: "Whether our package is good enough to beat Max... their package, the combination of driver, car and power source ... it’s very complete at the moment."
What is possible, however, is that Hamilton will succeed in tracking down the struggling Sergio Perez for second overall in the drivers’ standings - with the gap down to just 20 points.
"It’s mostly dependent on Checo’s weekends really," Hamilton said. "They have the championship-winning car. He’s just been unfortunate, I think, in some scenarios.
"But honestly, it’s not going to make a big difference to my life, whether I come second or third," the seven time world champion added. "It’s a bonus if we get second in the drivers."
According to former F1 driver Timo Glock, Mercedes and Hamilton’s resurgence is just more pressure on Mexican Perez at exactly the wrong moment.
"Hamilton has currently found a good way to handle the car," he told Sky Deutschland. "The race pace is great.
"That’s why it will now be twice as difficult for Perez in the final races. It’s down to his nerves," the German added.
Meanwhile, former technical director Mike Elliott has finally paid the price for Mercedes’ failed ’no sidepods’ car concept, having already been relegated down the pecking order by the returning James Allison in April this year.
Mercedes confirmed that Elliott "has chosen to depart the team" after 11 years to "begin the next chapter of his career".
"It’s clear that he’s ready for new adventures beyond Mercedes," said Wolff, "so I know this is the right step for him to take, too."
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