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Hamilton’s “compulsive need to win” is intact, says Mercedes

Mercedes has no doubts that Lewis Hamilton’s “compulsive need to win” is fully intact, despite a difficult two years in Formula 1 with the team.

Pole man Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, celebrates on aarival in Parc Ferme

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has not won a race since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Mercedes having been no regular match for Red Bull in F1’s ground effect era that started in 2022. 

However, there is a sense of growing confidence within Mercedes that the work it has done on its 2024 F1 car has helped eradicating key problems that has held it back. 

While some have questioned whether Hamilton still has as much hunger to succeed off the back of the difficult spell he has been through, Mercedes technical director James Allison has no doubts he will be totally up for the fight ahead. 

“I think you'd struggle to find a driver anywhere in the grid that wasn't motivated,” explained Allison. 

“I think that sort of comes with the territory with them. And generally speaking, the more successful the drivers have been, the more sort of inescapable that compulsive need to win is.  

“In Lewis's case, it's just a core part of who he is, so there's no doubt about his motivation to get back to winning ways. But whether or not he can do that, will be much more in the hands of the equipment we've given him than in his own hands. He's always had that ability there.” 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, is interviewed after the race

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, is interviewed after the race

Allison says that there is little extra that the team’s drivers Hamilton and George Russell can do over the winter to help with development, while work has progressed on the W15 car. 

However, he adds that once the car is up and running in testing, then the responsibilities for improving it very much fall on their shoulders. 

“Both drivers, their role over the winter is very largely to look after their physical condition, make sure that they're mentally prepared and just stay in touch with us about our successes and failures as we are going through the hoops of getting the car specified, built, tested and ready for them,” he said. 

“It isn't really a part of the year where they can have other than an observing role with what we're doing.  

“Once the car is running and once the car is talking to us, the person that is the interpreter is the driver, and then their voices start to have much greater weight. So over the winter, it’s just getting themselves ready for the new challenge.”  

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