Former Mercedes team principal Norbert Haug believes Lewis Hamilton’s career is far from over despite a disappointing 2022. The sport has been dominated by Hamilton in recent years, who won six world titles between 2014 and 2020.
The Englishman then agonisingly missed out on the drivers’ championship in 2021 to Max Verstappen, before going through one of the worst campaigns of his F1 career in 2022. As a result, Hamilton finished sixth in the standings, enduring his first-ever winless season.
Haug however expects the seven-time world champion to bounce back ahead of the upcoming 2023 season. Speaking to RND as per GP Fans, the former boss said: “To anyone who thinks Lewis Hamilton is already finished, I am happy to describe in next year’s columns that things turned out very differently.”
It was not just an under-par year for Hamilton but for the Mercedes team overall who secured just one win in 2022, finishing third in the constructors’ standings, a title they had previously won eight times in a row. The one bright spark though proved to be new signing and rising star George Russell who secured the Silver Arrows’ only – and his first – win in Brazil.
Tipping Russell to also continue to impress in the new season alongside an improved Hamilton, Haug went on: “George Russell is an absolute top driver – the best prerequisite in the record world champion team, so that both will spur each other on to top performances.”
The Achilles heel of Mercedes’ 2022 season was their car after the Silver Arrows struggled to adapt to new regulations implemented by the sport’s governing body the FIA. It was the team’s slow start that ultimately cost them, but their former chief suspects that will be rectified in 2023.
“Mercedes will not start as badly in 2023 as in 2022, which will not make Ferrari’s life under new management any easier,” he added.”I’m sure that Mercedes will challenge Red Bull Racing in the new season and want to win back the world titles for both the drivers’ and the constructors’.
“The Silver Arrows will pursue this goal methodically and uncompromisingly. The sting of the experiences from 2022 is as deep in Brackley as in Brixworth.”