Lewis Hamilton, a former F1 titan, had a good sprint race in Austin – albeit still overshadowed by the new great of the sport, Max Verstappen. “It was a good position to be able to watch what Max’s car was doing, how it was behaving,” Hamilton commented, his voice reflecting a blend of respect and realization.
Mercedes had just unfurled their latest weapon – a new floor for the US GP. Yet, this cutting-edge innovation, representing the apex of the team’s 2023 development efforts, didn’t seem enough to bridge the gap to Verstappen. Hamilton, candid as ever, observed, “At least we know where we are. And we have a lot of work to do… It’s no small feat for us to truly catch them for next year.”
James Allison, the technical maestro at Mercedes, had pinned hopes on the new floor, seeing it as a compass pointing towards 2024. Hamilton, however, cast a shadow of doubt, “I don’t know really if it’s a signifier of anything for next year. They (Red Bull) will be progressing at a steep rate… That makes it even steeper for us to close the gap.”
The dynamism of Formula 1 isn’t just about cars and tracks; it’s about balance and fairness. Hamilton, sensing the scale tipping, nudged the FIA to consider shaking things up for a more riveting competition. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, FIA’s chief, referencing the champions of yesteryears, responded in the AS newspaper, “Why did Lewis win all the time before? Why did Michael Schumacher always win? It’s Max’s time… Change the rules now? It can’t be done.”
While Verstappen’s dominance paints a rosy picture for Red Bull, all might not be as serene behind their garage doors. Ralf Schumacher, leveraging his seasoned instincts, whispered to Sky Deutschland, “I have a feeling we will see some personnel surprises at Red Bull in the winter.”