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Lewis Hamilton believes next year’s F1 world championship will be wide open and Mercedes could be fighting against four other teams for the title. Red Bull and Ferrari are expected to again battle for championship honours but Hamilton believes that McLaren and Alpine could also challenge.
Hamilton saw a dominant run of four championship wins ended in 2021 by Max Verstappen, who controversially beat him to the title during the final race of the season. As Mercedes struggled with pace last year, Verstappen stormed to a second world title with Hamilton finishing the championship in a disappointing sixth.
But the British star believes Mercedes can challenge Verstappen and Red Bull again in 2023. He told the Formula 1 website: “I’d like to think that we’re going to be the ones that are competing with them and being able to beat them [Red Bull] again, I do believe that for sure.”
Last season Charles Leclerc finished second in the driver’s championship for Ferrari, winning three races and taking eight further podiums. Despite Ferrari lacking the consistency to match Red Bull last season, Hamilton believes they have shown ‘strong signs’ of being able to mount a title challenge.
He added: “But I really hope that Ferrari are strong in the following years. They’ve definitely had a difficult year but there’s been some strong signs, obviously, that you’ve seen this year, which has been nice to see. And it’s been nice to see Ferrari doing well again.
“So, I hope that it’s more than a two-way battle next year. I hope there’s at least three of us.” Outside of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes the only other team to take a podium position was McLaren with Lando Norris at Imola.
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Australian rookie Oscar Piastri will replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren next term and McLaren boss Zak Brown hopes the improvement of the team’s technology infrastructure will help bridge the gap to the top three teams. Meanwhile, Alpine have also been tipped by Hamilton as potential challengers for the world title.
Alpine have a young driving team of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon in an all-French pairing. Hamilton added: “Why can’t McLaren be there? We’ll see. Or even Alpine’s been doing amazing. So, we’ll see.”
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