Hamilton Aims To Take Mercedes To The Top In His Last Season

Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a triumphant last season with Mercedes; feeling the "most motivated and focused I've ever been".

Lee Parker

By Lee Parker
Updated on February 19, 2024

Lewis Hamilton Bahrain 2023

Lewis Hamilton has expressed that it would be “the greatest honour” to lead Mercedes to the front of the F1 grid in his last season with the team before transitioning to Ferrari.

In an interview shared by Mercedes from their Silverstone car unveiling, Hamilton stated: “I feel the most motivated and focused I’ve ever been.

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“I mean every year you come back and you’re like ‘I’m fitter than ever’ and all these different things but I genuinely feel I’ve put more work and more time and more focus into preparation this year.

“I never thought that at this point in my life that I would have hunger like I do right now and to finish on a high with this team, it would be a dream.

“We’ve gone through a whole heap together so to finish on a high it would be the greatest honour to be able to help them to get back to the top.”

After conducting an initial test drive of Mercedes’ brand-new W15 during a rainy shakedown at Silverstone following its recent unveiling, Hamilton embarks on his 12th and final year with Mercedes. This week marks the start of a focused preseason in Bahrain, starting Wednesday through Friday.

Hamilton’s final season with Mercedes

Throughout their remarkable partnership since Hamilton’s switch from McLaren in 2013, he and Mercedes have secured their legacy in the records of F1 history, with Hamilton emerging as the most successful driver to date at the age of 39.

However, as they approach a new season featuring 24 races, they find themselves in the unique position of knowing they will part ways in 10 months. Ferrari faces a similar situation with Carlos Sainz, whom Hamilton is set to replace.

Following the conclusion of the car launches, Martin Brundle commented on the latest Sky Sports F1 podcast: “I have no doubt he will give it absolutely everything he’s got until the last lap of the last race in Abu Dhabi for Mercedes-Benz.

“He will be wearing those overalls, holding that steering wheel, representing 1,500 people. If everybody is smart in that, and I think they are all very smart people, and they have had such a wonderful relationship together, I think they will see it as a farewell tour.

“I think that’s how they should and will treat it, and then wish him farewell and hope that he loses in a Ferrari!”

However, Brundle also thinks that the upcoming separation will inevitably lead to situations where Hamilton, who is set to join Ferrari, will be excluded from specific meetings about the team’s future, with George Russell being the sole driver to continue with the Brackley-based team into 2025.

“You’ve got this transition point where Lewis will stop being invited to meetings, will not understand what’s going on with development of the car in the simulator, and the team consciously, subconsciously will favour George, they’ve got to.”

Simon Lazenby, alongside Martin Brundle and Rachel Brookes on the podcast, with Matt Baker hosting, remarked: “The thing is with Lewis is it’s an exceptional case, isn’t it?”

“At the end of the day, it’s Lewis, and Lewis has brought everything to Mercedes therefore they kind of do owe him a little bit.

“I think they owe him everything really and they probably owe him the respect that he deserves to treat him like the great champion that he is for the time that he has remaining at Mercedes.

“Martin’s right, and he’ll know more because he has driven in the sport, has been around it and knows when they switch off the information to the outgoing driver, but as far as he [Hamilton] is concerned… it’s about how he’ll get through the season, he’ll know early on whether he has got a car to compete for the championship and that could be the key.

“If he does, they’ll have to rally around whoever is the best driver again.”

When is F1 pre-season testing?

The pre-season testing is scheduled from Wednesday, February 21, to Friday, February 23, at the Bahrain International Circuit, providing teams three days to finalise their preparations for the upcoming season.

When is the first F1 race?

The 2024 season kicks off with the Bahrain Grand Prix, from February 29 to March 2, just a week after pre-season testing.

Due to Ramadan, both the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, happening a week later, will occur on a Saturday. Consequently, the first and second practice sessions will be held on Thursday, with the final practice and qualifying rounds on Friday.

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

Lee is our staff writer specialising in anything technical within Formula 1 from aerodynamics to engines. Lee writes most of our F1 guides for beginners and experienced fans having followed the sports since 1991, researching and understanding how teams build the ultimate machines. Like everyone else on the team he listens to podcasts about F1 and enjoys reading biographies of former drivers.

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