Lewis Hamilton apologizes for slamming Mercedes but admits the team ‘needed a kick’

Lewis Hamilton – Lewis Hamilton apologizes for slamming Mercedes but admits the team ‘needed a kick’

Lewis Hamilton has apologized for accusing his Mercedes team of not listening to his concerns over their 2023 car. But speaking ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the seven-time world champion said that the whole team “needed a kick” as they were around “1.5 seconds per lap” behind Red Bull in terms of race pace.

Mercedes started this season hoping they had addressed their speed deficit at Red Bull. But a disastrous opening race in Bahrain two weeks ago ended with Hamilton team-mate George Russell predicting Max Verstappen would win “all 23 races this year” was Red Bull’s speed advantage , and Hamilton hit his team for their failure to account. his warnings. Mercedes is now rethinking its entire car concept.

“It’s about taking charge and saying ‘yeah, you know what, we haven’t listened to you, that’s not the place to be,'” Hamilton told BBC Radio 5 Live after finishing fifth. in Sakhir. Responding to the comments yesterday, Hamilton, who is out of contract at the end of this year, apologized.

“In hindsight, looking back, that wasn’t necessarily the best choice of words,” he said. “Of course, there are times when you disagree with certain members of the team, but what is important is that we continue to communicate, that we continue to hug each other. elbows.

I still believe 100% in this team; it’s my family and I’ve been here a long time so I don’t plan on going anywhere else. But we all need a kick, we all need to move on.

Hamilton added that Mercedes estimated their speed deficit could be up to 1.5 seconds per lap, with Red Bull likely to hide their true pace. “I think in the race they didn’t push and so I think they’re a lot quicker than they looked,” he said.

“Now we have to start making bold decisions, big moves in order to close the gap with these guys, otherwise they will… they will run away, most likely, this year unless Ferrari can stop them.” , which we will wait and see.

But like I said, hopefully at some point in the year we hope we can close the gap, but by then it’ll probably be too late to fight for a championship, but we can still turn a few heads, hopefully.

Ferrari have already suffered a blow this weekend, with Charles Leclerc losing 10 places in the second race of the year only for exceeding the allowed number of electronic control units.

“That’s not how you want to start a season with a 10-place grid penalty from your teammate,” said Carlos Sainz. “Because you know that you are also exposed to this and sooner or later there could be a problem in your car as well. [But] I think we have reason to believe that this track should be a bit better for us.

Testing begins today, but the high-speed Corniche circuit in Jeddah certainly presents a very different challenge to that in Bahrain, both on and off the track. Last year’s race was dominated by a missile strike by Yemeni rebels on an oil refinery near the track and a number of riders yesterday expressed concerns about returning to the city.

“None of us liked [last year]admitted Kevin Magnussen of Haas. “But it’s a different situation now… there’s a ceasefire between the two sides that were involved last year and that gives some confidence.”

Hamilton was initially reluctant to offer an opinion on security or human rights, saying only that he believed ‘the opposite’ of some of his drivers after saying they believed positive change was happening in Arabia Saudi Arabia, accused by human rights groups. widespread abuse.

After being pressed, Hamilton added: “I always think that as a sport that goes to places where human rights issues like this, sport has a duty to raise awareness and try to leave a positive impact. I think he needs to do more.

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