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Hamilton: F1 2022 win will need luck as Red Bull "almost unbeatable"

Lewis Hamilton admits that his Mercedes Formula 1 team will need some good fortune if it is to win a race before the end of the 2022 season.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Hamilton says that the Red Bull RB18 is currently “almost unbeatable”, and suggests that Max Verstappen’s true potential is unclear as the Dutchman is often “chilled” at the front and not being pushed.

He also conceded that Mercedes doesn’t have any upgrades coming that will improve the situation, with the focus having turned to next year’s car.

Between them, Hamilton and team-mate George Russell have logged three second places and 10 thirds over the course of the season, and Mercedes currently lies third in the championship, just 35 points shy of Ferrari.

However, the team is running out of chances to win a race, which means this could be the first season since he entered F1 that Hamilton fails to score a victory.

"We have to be realistic, that Red Bull is almost unbeatable,” Hamilton said after the Italian Grand Prix.

“It's going to take some real doing to beat that car. Performance-wise they are fully ahead of everyone.

“We have not caught them, we don't have upgrades coming to overtake them. And so it's going take some fortune going our way.

“And not impossible, because we could have potentially beaten them in Budapest. But he [Verstappen] is generally chilled at the front, so you never know their true pace. So we'll see.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that the team couldn't have done better than the third and fifth places achieved by Russell and Hamilton at Monza, given the latter’s start from the back of the grid.

“Yeah, that's the best possible outcome,” he said, when asked by Autosport if the result was the best that could have been achieved.

“I think it was quite encouraging to see that at the beginning of the race [George] was able to hold on OK.

“The more frustrating part is that we haven't got a product underneath him that is capable to fight for victories, and we are quite far off, and that's the reality.

“Monza in the simulation wasn't great for us. So I hope we can do better in the next few races, and really fight with the top guys.

“And with Lewis, it was great to see, once he kind of got himself out of [traffic], he settled well in the car, he was driving a perfect race, and would have I think finished fifth in any case, even without a safety car. So I'm happy about that.

“But the overall result? From an absolute standpoint, the best we could have achieved, but relatively not good enough.”

However, Wolff still believes that Mercedes can win one of the remaining six races this year.

“I think it would be awesome if we could win a race on merit, without any grid penalties,” said the Austrian.

“I think, if you would have asked us after Spa, I would have said impossible, then after Zandvoort, we nearly won that one. And here it was not good.

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“So I think that must be the target. We don't want to end up the season with no race win, even if the sails are absolutely set for 2023. It would be quite a nice thing in a difficult season for all our people.”

Regarding the next race in Singapore, he said: “I think that track layout should suit our car. The bumps not.

“On the simulations, again it says it should be one of our better tracks. But I'm trying to stay on the let's say careful side with any predictions for Singapore.”

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