Hamilton denies ‘the Verstappen era’: “It’s too early”

Lewis Hamilton has dismissed questions that F1 is embarking on an era of dominance from Max Verstappen following his 13th victory of the season at the United States Grand Prix.
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing (Right) with second placed Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in parc
Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing (Right) with second…

Despite an 11.1s pit stop, Verstappen was still able to win in Austin, overtaking Hamilton and Charles Leclerc in the final stint of the race. 

Verstappen’s latest triumph means he moves level with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for the record number of wins in a season.

Given the level of performance shown by Verstappen and Red Bull in F1 2022, there are fears that there could be another era of dominance coming up, similar to Vettel with Red Bull in the early 2010s or Hamilton at the turn of the hybrid era in 2014.

(L to R): Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1; and race winner Max
(L to R): Dr Helmut Marko (AUT) Red Bull Motorsport Consultant; Lewis…

Hamilton believes “it’s too early to say” whether the ‘Verstappen era’ is underway yet.

“It is too early to say,” Hamilton said. “If we get into next year and they're dominating again, then yes, but the Ferraris have been quicker than them throughout qualifying. I think they've, over a single lap probably had better performance for the majority of a lot of the season. 

“Now, all they need to do is pick up their race pace, and they'll be right with them. I think we've got a much, much bigger step and steeper hill to climb, but hopefully not impossible.”

(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB18 battle for position. Formula 1
(L to R): Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari F1-75 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Red…

Leclerc - who has often been Verstappen’s nearest challenger this year - stated that he will do “everything for it not to happen”, but recognised his personal need and Ferrari’s to improve in F1 2023.

“Well, I hope not,” Leclerc added. “I will do everything for it to not to happen and we are working as a team for it to not happen obviously.  I think it is very clear for us where we need to improve. 

“Over one lap, we are really strong and I think we are on the same level as Red Bull; over the course of a race, then we are struggling with tyres. So we are putting our effort into that and I hope that we'll see the result as soon as next year. Looking back at the season, there's been not only tyre degradation but there has been mistakes, strategy, communication and tyre  management is one of those things. 

“And, again, we are trying to use these last races in the best way possible in order to challenge Max and Red Bull for the championship next year. But I'm confident we can do that because I know how hard we are working and I'm confident that we are working in the right direction.”

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