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“We Do Want to Get That 8th World Title”: Mercedes Top Engineer Still Seeking Lewis Hamilton Revenge for 2021 Despite Changed Loyalties

Sabyasachi Biswas
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“We Do Want to Get That 8th World Title”: Mercedes Top Engineer Still Seeking Lewis Hamilton Revenge for 2021 Despite Changed Loyalties

The very last lap of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix still hurts Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and everyone associated with the team. The Briton, along with the Silver Arrows were very close to securing the record-breaking eighth world championship, but only just. Now, coming into 2024, Andrew Shovlin wants to claim that eighth world title with Hamilton before the latter moves to Ferrari at the end of this season.

Shovlin, speaking about this, said in the recent F1: Chequered Flag podcast, “The way the race played out at the end of 2021 in Abu Dhabi means that we do want to go and get that eighth [world] title because we felt that we have done everything that we had to do to win it for Lewis there and then [in Abu Dhabi 2021.]”

Hamilton, who led most of the Abu Dhabi GP was minutes away from being the greatest ever F1 driver ever. However, Michael Masi’s call during the safety car right at the end changed the scenario for the seven-time world champion. Masi asked the lapped cars to move out of Max Verstappen’s way, which brought him right behind Hamilton.

Red Bull pitted Verstappen to put fresher tires during the safety car period, whereas Hamilton decided to stay out. As the Dutchman came closer to the British driver, the former was at an advantage. Hamilton’s W12 with older, worn-out, hard tires was right ahead of Verstappen’s RB-16B with new, fresh, and soft tires.

In the end, Verstappen dived down the inside to snatch the lead away from Hamilton at Turn 5. With this, he claimed his first-ever F1 world championship, whereas, Hamilton had to stop inches away from being an eight-time champion. Mercedes, after the event were furious with the decision and wanted to challenge the incident with a complaint to the FIA.

However, they soon withdrew from doing it because of sporting integrity. From there on, Hamilton and Mercedes have never been dominant. From the onset of the regulations in 2022, the Silver Arrows were reduced to second best after Red Bull. At times they have also been third or even fourth behind Ferrari and McLaren. The condition was the same in 2023 as well where they failed to pick up a win throughout the entire season. But coming into 2024, there is hope.

How hopeful Mercedes is in 2024?

Formula 1 recently concluded its pre-season testing in Bahrain with all the teams ahead of the 2024 season. Red Bull, McLaren, and Ferrari grabbed all the attention, whereas Mercedes stayed away from the limelight. The Silver Arrows did not show their full potential as many believe they were sandbagging.

Hamilton and Co. did not focus on their one lap pace as their main focus was on the race pace. However, the simulation data of the W15 was reportedly on the improved side. Furthermore, James Allison, the technical director of the team also provided positive feedback ahead of the season.

The Silver Arrows are still to find their foot amid the strong competition from McLaren and Ferrari. Moreover, beating Red Bull and Max Verstappen for the title may be out of their capabilities for now. Nevertheless, Hamilton will switch to Ferrari in 2025 even if he manages to win his eighth championship this year.

Hamilton’s arrival at the Prancing Horse will be the last year of the current regulations. Therefore, Fred Vasseur and his team need to make sure they are at an advantage under the 2026 regulations if they want Lewis Hamilton to take a shot at the championship, again.

Post Edited By:Aishwary Gaonkar

About the author

Sabyasachi Biswas

Sabyasachi Biswas

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Sabyasachi Biswas is an F1 journalist at The SportsRush. With over one and a half decades of love for the sport and five years of experience in the field, he dreams to be a regular at the paddock when the lights go out. A Red Bull fan and F1 fan in general over the years, he enjoyed watching Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel, and Max Verstappen dominate the track. Apart from F1, he's also a big-time Madridista and Federer fanatic. He was a sub-junior level footballer, won inter-district quizzes and debate competitions back in school. A travel freak throughout, he tries different cuisines and learns new cultures whenever he's away from the keyboard.

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