The seven-time world champion criticised Mercedes for failing to listen to his concerns about the design of their car after finishing fifth and over 50 seconds behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. 

Can Red Bull win every race this season?

Mercedes’ continued struggles have led to suggestions that the 38-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could leave the team or quit F1 altogether. 

Hamilton remains defiant about his loyalty to Mercedes, though he stressed the team need a “kick” in order to get back to the front. 

“I still have 100 percent belief in this team,” Hamilton said ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

“This is my family and I’ve been here a long time, so I don’t plan on going anywhere else, but we all need a kick. We all need to get on. 

“The proof is in the pudding, we have seen where the performance is and how people are extracting the performance. We have got to now start making some bold decisions and some big moves in order to close the gap to these guys. 

“They [Red Bull] will run away with it this year most likely, unless Ferrari can stop them. We will wait and see. 

“We are hopeful of closing the gap but, at that point, it will be too late to fight for the championship. But we can still turn some heads, hopefully.”

Team principal Toto Wolff admitted in Bahrain that Mercedes had made a mistake in continuing to pursue their controversial ‘zero sidepod’ concept and demanded “radical” changes. 

Asked if Mercedes have already made some bold decisions regarding the development of their car, Hamilton replied: “I think we are in the process of it, yes.”

Hamilton conceded he has had to “redirect” his energy and motivation after realising very early that he would not be in contention to win a record eighth world title this season. 

“If you are fighting for a world championship, which is what you prepare for at the beginning of the season… You realise that’s not the case and you redirect that energy to building and strengthening the team, supporting everyone you can and you continue to prepare the same for the races in the sense of your fitness and your mental approach,” he explained. 

“We need the Red Bulls, the Ferraris and maybe now the Aston’s not to finish the race for us to be winning at the moment. But that doesn’t mean we can’t catch them up. 

“None of us at this team have ever shied away from a challenge. We enjoy the challenge. We would much prefer to be at the front but it isn’t the way it is.”