Ecclestone: Winless Hamilton ‘failed Mercedes a bit’


Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes that Lewis Hamilton “failed” Mercedes last season by not delivering a single win to the former championship winning outfit.

Ecclestone also expressed his belief that the Brackley squad would have avoided its winless campaign if Max Verstappen had been driving for the team.

Verstappen's record-breaking 2023 campaign with Red Bull, which saw him claim 19 victories in 22 races and a staggering 575 points, stands in stark contrast to Mercedes' struggles under the current regulations.

The German manufacturer’s 'zero sidepod' concept and general design approach to the sport’s ground-effect regulations proved to be a major setback, leaving them trailing Red Bull by a massive 451 points in the constructors' championship.

With just a single win to their name in 44 races – courtesy of George Russell’s victory in the 2022 Brazilian GP – Mercedes’ track record painfully contrasts with the enduring supremacy it enjoyed from 2014 to 2021.

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Ecclestone, who is no stranger to making bold statements, believes that Verstappen's driving prowess could have made a significant difference for Mercedes.

"Hamilton failed a bit," Ecclestone told Germany’s BILD. “Russell wasn't as good as he thought he was either.

“Still, they shouldn’t have lost so dramatically.”

Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme. 03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

While Ecclestone's comments may seem harsh, there's no denying that Verstappen's performance in 2023 was exceptional.

His ability to extract the maximum from his car, coupled with his aggressive driving style, made him a force to be reckoned with throughout the season.

But Ecclestone also has heaped praise on Red Bull team principal Christian Horner for assembling a team that has been virtually unbeatable over the past two seasons.

“They have patiently endured Mercedes dominance, replacing each weak link one by one, developing the best team, the best design, the best car and the best driver,” stated the 93-year-old.

“Christian Horner has done an excellent job. Max is currently the benchmark in every field.

“You could also put him in a McLaren, and probably a Ferrari or a Mercedes, and he would still win.”

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