Hamilton is the closest challenger to Verstappen in 2023

Hamilton is the closest challenger to Verstappen in 2023

There was plenty of drama during the US Grand Prix, but Hamilton and Verstappen showed they were in a league of their own.

At the US Grand Prix last weekend, we were treated to a classic Verstappen/Hamilton duel for the victory, and boy, was it worth it!

Formula 1 fans were treated to an exciting race up and down the grid again after cameras managed to divert from Brad Pitt for a little moment. The two-stop race provided the ideal amount of drama, with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battling it out for the lead on the circuit.

The two World Champions stood head and shoulders above the competition. It serves as a reminder that only Lewis Hamilton is capable of taking it to Max in their current state as we see them both contend for the victory in the race’s closing stages.

After missing out on winning his eighth world championship in Abu Dhabi the previous year, Lewis expected a successful comeback in 2022. However,  Mercedes, who ruled Formula One in the 2010s, is currently the third-best team behind Ferrari and Red Bull.

Mercedes has generally had a hard time keeping up with pace due to the new regulations. Toto Wolff, the team’s principal and CEO, explained that this was the result of a development error made last October that the team was unable to correct because of restrictions on spending imposed by the new cost cap regulations. Instead, Lewis’ competition for 2021, Max Verstappen, has easily won his second world championship this year.

While 2022 has featured a few thrilling races, there hasn’t been any championship competition. Despite Charles Leclerc’s best efforts, this season lacked title favorites to provide excitement. It makes you eager to watch Lewis and Max challenge for the title again the next year after watching them compete for the victory at the US GP on the track.

Last weekend, Mercedes upgraded their front wings significantly, but Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were only able to qualify in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Mercedes had to rely on their race pace and an aggressive strategy to contend for the race win on Sunday because Red Bull and Ferrari still had the advantage over the eight-time Constructors Champions after one lap.

Carlos Sainz, who started on pole, had his race regrettably cut short after Verstappen passed him and George Russell tagged him. Having avoided the mayhem, Hamilton fell behind his former opponent in P2. Lewis was no match for Max in the potent Red Bull, unable to get close enough for an overtake.

Red Bull, who often changes tires with ease, struggled during the second round of pit stops. Verstappen departed the pits behind Leclerc after being in his box for more than 11 seconds, giving Hamilton the advantage.

There was a three-way race for the lead, but as soon as Verstappen passed Leclerc for second, the Ferrari driver appeared to lose some of the top two’s speed.

Max started a quick push for the lead after accumulating enough laps to safely pass Hamilton. At some point, Hamilton was unable to match Verstappen’s edge in straight-line speed and tyre wear, and Verstappen reclaimed the lead.

The fight between the two was remarkable even if Max’s victory appeared inevitable. After Max’s subpar pit stop, Lewis and Mercedes were able to put pressure on Red Bull, giving him the motivation to go for the win.

It would have been a tremendous incentive for Max to compete against Lewis, and it would have made for excellent entertainment for the spectators, to pursue his old adversary and deprive him his first race of the season.

Most importantly, it demonstrates how dependent they are on one another in order to race at their best. It’s undeniable that they both gave everything they had to attempt to win that race, which is what makes them so amazing to watch and distinguishes them from the other drivers on the starting grid.

Despite the Mercedes’ performance issues throughout the race, Lewis maintained a position in the top two with minimal opposition from the Ferrari and Red Bull in the rear. Although Perez and Russell’s car experienced problems, I think they would still have been unable to catch Max and Lewis even without them.

There were other drivers competing at their best that race weekend besides Lewis and Max. At the US GP, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel deserve honorable mentions as well. Given his encounter with Lance Stroll, Fernando’s ability to persevere and place in the top 10 is astounding.

Second, Jenson Button said that Vettel’s pass of Magnussen for P7 on the final lap of the race was one of the best moves he had ever seen. The US GP was extremely entertaining to witness because we got to see World Champions compete at their peak.

Hopefully Verstappen and Hamilton’s rivalry will pick up steam in time for the 2023 season. Three cars competing for the win would be amazing, but only Mercedes and Lewis can exert pressure on Red Bull and cause the normally faultless team to make mistakes.

Verstappen presents a laid-back and unconcerned persona in interviews. However, you are aware that his appetite will return as soon as Lewis Hamilton starts to push him along the track. 

Lewis appears to be the only driver who can contend with Max for the upcoming World Championships, so we need him to win the championship next year.

Leave a Reply