Winner of three of the last four F1 GPs in Brazil, Mercedes is already in São Paulo. Lewis Hamilton, honorary citizen of the country, and George Russell, winner of the last edition of the race, participated this Wednesday in the first engagement before this Sunday’s race. The duo celebrated their return to the track and their positive outlook; Hamilton, owner of three triumphs in 2016, 2019 and 2021, chose the Autódromo de Interlagos as the place where he would like to win again.
After joking about still needing to learn Portuguese and thinking about a Brazilian girlfriend to help him, Hamilton mentioned Interlagos when asked about choosing to win by the end of the year, or be second in the drivers’ championship. The position is desired by him, who has a 20 point difference over the current vice-leader Sergio Pérez, from RBR.
– Of course I would choose (to win in) Brazil (laughs). I’ve had the privilege of winning here two or three times, but 2021 was one of the best races of my life. Having won it here in Brazil was, for me… Having watched Ayrton (Senna) over the years, it was so surreal to have that experience, especially coming from where I came from. Our focus now is on working together, George and I have been working hard with everyone on the team. (Second place at Worlds) would be a testament to the incredible people we work with. We started the year with a very difficult car, so not being so far behind… In terms of points, we are a lot behind (laughs). But being in second place, and competing with Ferrari… From a driver’s perspective, we exist to win – declared the Briton.
See the preview analysis of the São Paulo Formula 1 GP
Mercedes currently occupies second place in the F1 world constructors’ championship with 371 points, 360 less than six-time champion RBR. The team’s focus now, however, is still divided with the Drivers’ World Championship: Hamilton continues in search of runner-up. The driver is third in the table with 220 points, 20 less than current vice-leader Sergio Pérez, RBR holder.
Of the GPs held in 2022, 2021, 2019 and 2018, Mercedes only failed to win in 2018, when Max Verstappen occupied the highest place on the podium; in the two years that followed, it was Hamilton who came out on top.
The current winner of the Interlagos Circuit, however, is the young George Russell, who started from pole position after winning the sprint race of the year in question and secured Mercedes’ only one-two finish of the season that crowned Max Verstappen as two-time world champion.
In his second season for the German team, the English driver won the first triumph of his career in 2022. Russell, to the press, recalled the team’s exceptional evolution in the last edition of the race and revealed his expectations for this year’s edition:
– I’m excited to be back in Brazil, here where I managed to achieve my first victory in F1, an incredible result. We arrived here trying to do the same this weekend. It’s always exciting to be in Interlagos, all the fans here are so passionate about Formula 1, seeing the passion they have is truly exceptional.
Colleagues for two years, Russell and Hamilton have a partnership that has given Mercedes 23 podiums since 2022. The last was Lewis’ second place in the Mexican GP last Sunday. The synergy established between the duo included delicate moments, such as the crash at the start of the Qatar GP at the beginning of last month; however, Russell sees their relationship bearing fruit on the team.
– We both have a very close relationship because we both want the same thing, which is to return Mercedes to the top of the World Cup. In F1, it’s a long journey. Everyone is so motivated, so hungry to return to the winning path. And I think there’s an appreciation when the results come in after so much sweat and tears from everyone working on the chassis, the engine, our partners. Of course we are competitive, but we need to get back to the front, we need to have a car capable of winning races. And I believe that – declared the driver of car 63.
F1 2023 heads to the São Paulo GP next weekend. Between November 3rd and 5th, ge.globo will follow all the emotions of the stage – including the last sprint race of the year – directly from the Autódromo de Interlagos. See more details here.