Even though Lewis Hamilton sits 18 points behind current Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen, the defending champion insists that his bid for a record eighth championship title isn’t slipping away – but maintained that Mercedes have a job to do to catch up to Red Bull.
Hamilton though conceded that Mercedes have lost the development race to Red Bull, being 40 points behind their rivals in the constructors’ championship.
“Well, I don’t accept anything," told F1.
“I think we’ve still got many races ahead of us and we’ve got to keep pushing. We’re world champions and… we can definitely improve if we put our minds to it.
“If we’re not going to develop and improve our car for the rest of the year, this is the result you’re going to see, because, as I said, they’ve [Red Bull] really eked out performance in these last few races, wherever it’s been in France with the engine or the new wing, whichever it is."
A fifth win of the season for the Dutchman, and a third victory in a row, could put him out of immediate range of the Englishman, however.
As for the engines, Mercedes, dominant since the start of the V6 turbo hybrid era in 2014, have lost their winning feeling.
After last Sunday’s race team boss Toto Wolff said the team had stopped developing the current car, with the focus now switching to their 2022 challenger. Hamilton though, said he is desperate for more updates to the W12 car in order to hit back in the fight with Red Bull.
“I’m not going to question the team’s logic and how they go through with their process. As I said… give us an upgrade, we would love an upgrade, but I don’t think it’s in the pipeline at the moment," he said.
“We’re down on a few areas. It’s been close at the beginning of the season and if we both – Red Bull and us – had the same performance as we did in those first four races then perhaps it would be a little more exciting, but as I said, they’ve taken a decent step forwards…"