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Autosport Top 50 of 2023: #6 Lewis Hamilton

3rd in the Formula 1 World Championship

Top 50 2023 dotcom6

Top 50 Drivers of 2023

Autosport's team of expert journalists got together to try to assess who were the top 50 drivers of 2023. Here are the results.

Lewis Hamilton appeared downbeat at the season’s end, frustrated at the lack of Mercedes' progress after falling off its perch. But he comprehensively beat team-mate George Russell.

PLUS: Is Mercedes experiencing an extended blip or the end of an F1 dynasty?

His consistency and ability to reach the high notes that Russell could not achieve put him in the race for second in the drivers’ championship. Runner-up finishes in Melbourne, Barcelona and Mexico showcased excellent drives, as did his path to second at Austin (undone for a skid block-induced disqualification).

Until his first-lap Qatar retirement, he only strayed outside of the top six once, and his points-gathering carried Mercedes to second in the teams’ championship.

Hamilton commits to Mercedes despite W14 disappointment

Mercedes reckons that it knew as early as its first shakedown with the W14 at Silverstone that it wasn't going to be a title fighter. Revisionism or not, its initial results after retaining the 'zero-pod' design philosophy prompted some degree of over-correction in statements given to the media and made upon its social channels, essentially disparaging the fruits of its own labour. 

Hamilton gave his all with flawed Mercedes as he endured his second winless F1 campaign

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Hamilton gave his all with flawed Mercedes as he endured his second winless F1 campaign

Regardless, Hamilton decided to extend his contract with the team to the end of 2025, which will take him into his 40s amid suggestions that he might not fancy another few years of missing out on titles. His desire to clinch an eighth title continues to burn. 

PLUS: Hamilton explains how Mercedes lost and found its Northern Star in 2023

Amid the self-flagellation present among Mercedes' higher-ups in 2023, Hamilton noted multiple positives over the season - citing his Hungarian GP pole as one of the brightest moments. There, he shaded Verstappen and Norris by a few hundredths to show that he's still got it. 

“We didn't think that [pole] was going to be possible when I first drove the car this year,” Hamilton noted. “The upgrade that we saw in Austin and the fact that given a couple more laps, we may have been in shooting range for a win. Just seeing that we are slowly morphing this car into a more competitive machine. 

"It wouldn't do much for me in the sense of just stepping into the car that's been the most dominant car of all time. Working with my team to be able to beat them, I think would be better for my legacy" Lewis Hamilton

“But it still fundamentally is not a winning car. And that's what we've got to change for next year. So the dream is to make sure that when we start in February next year, it is not a replica of this car. But I'm pretty sure that's not going to be the case."

Despite the new deal, rumours that Hamilton's camp had been casting its net out for the second Red Bull seat had emerged in Abu Dhabi - which he denied, stating that Red Bull had reached out to him first

“Hopefully, signing [a new contract] has shown my commitment to the team,” he said. “Let's be realistic. Every single driver that's racing here dreams of being in the winning car. 

“It wouldn't do much for me in the sense of just stepping into the car that's been the most dominant car of all time. Working with my team to be able to beat them, I think would be better for my legacy.”

 
Hamilton has committed his future to Mercedes despite the limitations of a difficult W14 giving Red Bull a clear run at both titles

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Hamilton has committed his future to Mercedes despite the limitations of a difficult W14 giving Red Bull a clear run at both titles

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