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"We're a little bit further back," admits Hamilton

NEWS STORY
23/07/2022

Though he is confident Mercedes can still make its way on to the podium this weekend, Lewis Hamilton doesn't currently look likely to fulfil Damon Hill's prediction of the top step.

Speaking at the Thursday press conference, Lewis Hamilton appeared not to know that this weekend represents his 300th Grand Prix start.

"I didn't even know that," he insisted.

However, pushed into saying what his 2022 self might say to the 2007 version ahead of his debut, the Mercedes star replied: "I really don't know if I'm honest. Have a deep conversation, probably. I don't know. Just enjoy. Just make the most of time. Time is so precious. And I think naturally when you're a little bit younger, you feel like you're going to live forever and that you've got all the time in the world. And I would just say time is precious so just maximise every moment you get with family with friends, create memories, that's the most important thing. And don't stress too much."

Aw!

Anyway, earlier this week, Damon Hill predicted that Hamilton will make history by winning this weekend's race, possibly even heading a Mercedes 1-2. However, after the opening day's practice sessions, the seven-time champion offered no signs of Hill being proven correct.

"We're in fourth and fifth," he said, "so that's kind of the region that we'll be fighting for.

"I don't mean that we can't be on the podium," he added, "I think we can still be up there. We're just still not as quick as those front guys, we're a little bit further back than we were in the last race."

"The car's not spectacular here," he admitted, "we don't know why, but hopefully overnight we can make a bit of a step. It's every corner. I'm going to have to dig deep into the data, but it just feels like we're lacking downforce. But otherwise it's okay, I can only have empathy for the guys even further back.

"I think generally this generation of car is definitely nowhere near as good as it used to be in terms of grip and stuff that we had in the past," he added. "But it also is the first year of this generation so I'm sure it'll get better over the years. But we have work to do, we're a little bit further behind than we anticipated this weekend."

The Briton missed the opening session having handed the W13 over to reserve driver, Nyck de Vries.

"Nyck did a great job this morning," said Hamilton, "kept the car in one piece and was great out there. So I'm grateful for the work he did this morning."

Incidentally, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button are the other members of the '300 club', however, none of them was to win a race after passing the milestone event.

Check out our Friday gallery from Le Castellet here

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