Lewis Hamilton “really proud of race performances” in 2023 F1 season

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Ahead of another sprint weekend in Qatar, the fight for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship is properly heating up. Scuderia Ferrari have slashed the gap to Mercedes to just 20 points — from a high of 57 — following a string of good performances since the summer break.

The last time at least one Mercedes car beat both Ferraris on circuit was at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Since then, it’s been at least one Ferrari leading the quartet of drivers.

Speaking on media day ahead of this weekend’s action, Lewis Hamilton says he’s proud of what the team has achieved this season from where they started, but F1’s most successful ever driver is fully aware of the dangers Ferrari pose.

“We’re definitely not comfortably 2nd. Ferrari are putting up a really strong fight and have done an amazing job in the last couple of races, so it’s going to be a really good battle.

“I am really excited about this last part of the season to see if we can really squeeze more juice out of this car and try to finish ahead of them. But it’s going to take a real team effort.

“I am really proud of where we are considering where we started at the beginning of the year.”

Suzuka was the first time since the summer break that Hamilton has outqualified teammate George Russell, putting to an end a disappointing run of form on Saturday by his lofty standards.

In the battle for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship behind Sergio Perez, Hamilton has taken 22 points out of the Mexican over the Asian leg, trimming the gap to 33 overall with six races + three sprints to come.

The 38-year-old’s big strength this year has been in the race. Five podiums and lots of other excellent showings has moved him 75 points of clear teammate George Russell in the standings. The older Brit has clearly had better race pace throughout the course of 2023.

Hamilton admits he’s proud of the job he has done in races this year. Nonetheless, his main aim is to help Mercedes seal 2nd in the Constructors’ Championship as Perez should be able to hold on to P2 in the Drivers’ in spite of his lukewarm form.

“I mean it’s largely dependent on Checo and his performance moving forwards, as he should easily have 2nd.

“But I am really proud of where I’ve managed to get to. Really proud of the race performances so far.

“Of course I want to try and do better and do more. If we were able to get 2nd, it would be amazing.

“But the main focus is really trying to get 2nd for the team.”

Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team