Lewis Hamilton puts target on Sergio Perez’s back and makes Max Verstappen vow

Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on Red Bull driver Sergio Perez as he looks to hunt down the Mexican driver in the battle for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. He also promised that if Max Verstappen makes a mistake, he’ll be there to snatch away the win.

The British driver has been restricted to podiums and a single pole position this season, finishing in the top three in Australia, Spain, Britain and Canada to claim four of his team’s five podium finishes in 2023.

Unfortunately for Hamilton, Red Bull’s performance has gone unmatched by any team on the grid during the first half of the season. The Milton Keynes-based outfit have claimed each of the 12 Grand Prix victories up for grabs this season, leaving Mercedes fighting over scraps.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, Hamilton explained: “My goal is to try and figure out how to have the best ten races I’ve ever had in the second half of the season.

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“Of course, we know we’re… performance-wise we’re not gonna blitz these races but maximising points every weekend, holding onto second in the Constructors’ Championship and chasing down [Sergio] Perez… so that’s my goal.

“I feel like I’m ready to… I’m trying to prepare myself for when the car is ready to be able to challenge and beat Max [Verstappen]. I think at the moment, the only way we could probably do that currently is just to capitalise on any potential mistakes, which they don’t tend to make, but if they do I’ll be there.”

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Hamilton heads into the final ten races sitting P4 in the Drivers’ Championship but within a single point of career-long rival Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard stood on the podium at five of the opening six races this season, but Aston Martin’s drop-off in performance means that Hamilton should comfortably claim P3 at his current rate.

Catching Perez will be a more difficult task for the 38-year-old. While Hamilton’s performances have been comfortably better than Checo’s this season, the Mexican driver’s machinery has allowed him to claim semi-regular P2 finishes.

Exactly 41 points separate the two drivers ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix this weekend, meaning Hamilton would have to outscore the Mexican by just over four points per race to achieve his goal of a P2 finish in the standings.

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