Lewis Hamilton has seen how his initial criticism of Max Verstappen’s F1 dominance “spiraled” but stands by it, claiming his own streak of dominance was another example of what fans don’t want to see.
Red Bull already stormed their way to a title double in 2022, but in F1 2023 their level of dominance over the rest of the pack has grown even further, the Austrian team having started the season with 10 wins out of 10, plus a few sprint wins, because the prospect of going undefeated in an F1 campaign for the first time remains very high.
Mercedes meanwhile finds itself in the pack alongside Aston Martin, Ferrari and McLaren fighting desperately in the development war to become a threat to Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton claims F1 dominance “not what’s best for the fans”
Hamilton made it clear that he was not pointing the finger at one specific driver and team, claiming that his and Mercedes’ dominance streak, which saw Mercedes win eight Constructors’ titles from 2014-21 and Hamilton six Drivers’ crowns, was also not good for the sport.
And seeing this brew again with Verstappen and Red Bull, he says Formula 1 cannot let it happen for the sake of the fans.
“I saw all the things that led to that,” Hamilton told Channel 4, referring to his initial criticism of Verstappen’s dominance. “And they say ‘you didn’t say anything when you…’
“The truth is, it’s something we’ve talked about [about]we had conversations and we talked about it even when we had our dominance.
“I remember there were times when we had really good battles with Ferrari, and then I remember times when we had a big gap, and for me it wasn’t really…
“Of course I wanted to be up front and I wanted to fight, but with half a second ahead of the car behind it doesn’t feel real… you wanted to race close, that’s what racing is all about.
“So I think they changed the rules, put in a budget cap, it should smooth the field and it didn’t. So all I’m saying is we just need to keep having the conversation.
“At the moment, if we keep things as they are, maybe it will be Ferrari who will be dominant for a number of years and then it will be someone else, maybe it will be McLaren or maybe Mercedes will come back again and again.
“But I think in the end that’s not the best thing for the fans. And even if we don’t eventually return to the front, all I’m talking about is that we shouldn’t be able to be dominant for several years.
“It has to be tough, it has to be closer for all of us and I think that will make it more exciting for the fans.
“Just from a fan’s point of view, from growing up watching the Grand Prix, I don’t think anybody wants to see the period I had, the period when Michael [Schumacher] had, the period [Sebastian] Vettel had and now Max will have.”
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Lewis Hamilton gives Max Verstappen’s dominance a future perspective
Apart from his team-mate Sergio Perez, who has won two grands prix this season, and Verstappen the other eight, the Dutchman has not faced any threat of victory in F1 2023 from a non-Red Bull challenger.
And Hamilton believes the cost cap and current landscape in Formula 1 could allow Verstappen’s dominance to continue for another three years.
“There’s a chance that Red Bull, with the cost cap and the way it’s set up now, is so far ahead that they can dominate for the next three years.” Hamilton predicted.
“And maybe that’s nice for the Verstappen fans, and of course for Max, but I’m just saying that for our sport we absolutely need to have the conversation about how we can try to make it better, bring everyone closer and have more. ” closer duels up front.”
Lewis Hamilton is not out to ‘contaminate’ Max Verstappen and Red Bull
Hamilton reaffirmed that his comments were not a blow to Verstappen and Red Bull, acknowledging that this partnership has done “exceptional work”, though going back to his point that while this is very convenient for Verstappen and Red Bull, the same is not the case. true for the F1 fans.
Hamilton told him that maybe the fans don’t see the bigger picture of this kind of success, to which he replied: “The point is when you’re really into it you work as hard as you can and give it your all.
“And Max and his team have done an exceptional job and they really deserve the success they have, and I’m not trying to tarnish that at all.
“Like I said, it’s just about the conversation and so that we don’t have my period, or Schumacher’s period, which just went on and on and on.
“We have to continue to make changes and improve as a sport, so we have closer battles in the championship, like having that edge in the championship fight until the last race is the best, it’s amazing.
“And the more teams you have in it, the better it will be. So I hope we can all work towards that.”
While Hamilton holds the record for most Grand Prix wins with 103, he has not added anything to that tally since the penultimate round of the 2021 season.
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