Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes has been intensely working since Monaco onward to stay on with Red Bull in the 2021 F1 title fight.
After probably 2018 and parts of 2019, this is probably the closest championship fights, we have seen in F1 in the hybrid era, with Red Bull giving a tough fight to Mercedes, in the last year of the current regulations, before a bigger change in 2022.
While it is expected that things will be closer next year, but with the engine formula remaining the same, Mercedes still has a good raw advantage. For 2021, though, Red Bull is not giving up, in their last year together with Honda in official capacity.
Both Red Bull and Honda are giving their all, even though, the former is already working on 2022 as well, which will see the F1 team jump into the powertrain side too. Until the end of the Austrian double-header, they had some advantage over Mercedes in the standings.
However, after Silverstone and Hungaroring happenings, Mercedes has retaken the lead by 12 points in the constructors’ standings, while Hamilton has a nine points lead on Max Verstappen in the drivers’ championship – bringing in some comfort.
There has been some luck on Mercedes sides certainly, but they have had to push on with their upgrades too, which seemingly has worked to a certain extent. In fact, Hamilton states that since Monaco, the fight has been intense, whether on or off the track.
Mercedes has been pushing hard, whether on the car side and or the engine side – albeit whatever that can be under the current regulations. They brought an upgrade packed just ahead of the summer break and Hamilton hopes it is enough for them in the fight.
“I really hope so [that the upgrades work enough],” said Hamilton. “I tell you, it’s definitely been a hard slog for us in terms of trying to… those guys with their update, they had I think a combination of things but they took a really good step once we got the midpoint.
“Monaco onwards was intense and the upgrade really has worked and then we’ve just been working on our procedure through the race weekends and trying to extract more from the car and I think now we’re a lot closer. Hungary was very strong and [I was] definitely surprised to see how strong it was compared to Red Bull.
“I am proud of everyone back at the factory, and as I said, who continue to not give up. Even how the race panned out in Hungary with the big mess-up, the team still did not give up, kept pushing and that’s what we do. We never give up. We keep pushing and fighting and I’m so honoured to be able to race for a team like this and we learn from these mistakes, unfortunately, we wish they didn’t happen, but it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up,” summed up Hamilton.
Much of the said stuff from Hamilton was backed up by team boss Toto Wolff, who agrees that the pre-summer break turnaround worked in their favour, but they are wary of how Red Bull can fightback in this up and down F1 season.
“This has definitely been one of the most intense F1 seasons that I can remember, so far,” said Wolff. “The battle is far from over and after a few weeks away from the track, we’re all really excited to get back to work. The shutdown is such an important time for the entire team.
“The chance to relax and recharge is invaluable, especially with such a busy second half of the season coming up, and the fight we have ahead of us. We’re all racers at heart though, so while we enjoyed the well-deserved time off, we’re also eager to get back to doing what we love: racing! We head to Spa-Francorchamps in a good position.
“We lead both Championships and the W12 feels in a better place, after the upgrades introduced at Silverstone and an encouraging showing in Hungary. But we know there is a long road ahead and so much can still happen in this season of ups and downs,” summed up Wolff.
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