Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t enjoy driving cars that aren’t “great” but is ready to fight for the championship if the Mercedes W14 comes good.
The seven-times world champion is enduring a second disappointing campaign in as many years after Mercedes started the season far from the pace of Red Bull. The reigning champions have won every race this year, while Hamilton has been out-qualified by team mate George Russell at all three rounds.
Hamilton’s Mercedes contract will expire at the end of the year and the expectation he will be unable to fight for the championship again has prompted speculation he may leave the sport. Speaking to Fox Sports during the Australian Grand Prix weekend Hamilton said he still has a passion for driving but is eager to have a competitive car again.
“I really do love it,” he said. “I don’t like driving not-great cars.”
Mercedes has already said it intends to change the design concept of its W14 after failing to significantly close on the reigning world champions during the off-season.
“I don’t like driving a car that’s not the car that we had meant to have,” Hamilton continued. “But I love that challenge of ‘what can I do with it?’ Okay, wins are not possible right now so what’s the maximum we can get?
“Can we be a little cheeky and if fifth is the best we can get, can we get a fourth or a third? Can we just make sure we’re consistent and make sure that you’re fit and ready so that when the car does all of a sudden switch on and it is the car that you dreamed of having you’re ready?”
Having narrowly missed out on a record-breaking eighth world championship in 2021, Hamilton says he is eager to fight for another. “I’m ready to win a world championship. I’ve prepared the best way I can this year, I think the best thing I’ve ever prepared. And if the car comes correct tomorrow, I’ll be ready to fight for the world championship.
“That’s not the case and the reality at the moment. But I’m working with everyone here and back in the factory, too, to get there.”
Following the interview Hamilton qualified third on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix, behind Russell, and finished second after his team mate’s retirement.