Andretti explains Hamilton’s difficult season: ‘Always had cars with which he could win’

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Andretti explains Hamilton's difficult season: 'Always had cars with which he could win'

Mario Andretti believes that Lewis Hamilton has never faced the challenges that George Russell had to deal with for years, and that the younger Briton will therefore perform better in 2024 for the disappointing Mercedes. The 84-year-old former world champion thinks it is a shame that Carlos Sainz has to leave Ferrari.

Andretti was born in 1940 in Istria, then still Italian territory, and Ferrari has always had a special place in his heart. Andretti won his first Grand Prix for the Italian team in 1971, and returned to the Scuderia in 1982 to end his career with Ferrari, completing two races: in Italy and the United States.

Hamilton always got top material

Hamilton is now in his eighteenth season in Formula 1. The now 39-year-old Briton made his debut with McLaren in 2007 and was immediately able to compete for the titles. According to Andretti, that is now working against him. ‘Lewis has often had cars in his career with which he could win. He didn’t have to get the most out of it, so he made few mistakes. George Russell had to fight constantly at Williams because the car was not competitive. When he joined Mercedes, he thought he was in paradise,” Andretti told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Now that Mercedes threatens to fall back to midfield, Hamilton has to adapt considerably. ‘Now you see that George has to fight for his position again and again. He is used to that, and that is why he stands for his teammate. Hamilton really seemed to be an extraordinary driver, but he is also just human. That was also the case with Michael Schumacher when he returned,” Andretti points out. “It will be interesting to see what Lewis will do at Ferrari, as his great wish is to end his career there.”

Sainz excels

“It makes me a bit sad that Carlos Sainz is being sacrificed to make room for Hamilton,” the American shares. ‘At least he now still has the chance to fight for a seat where he can fight for the win. He has simply earned a top seat for the future. Compared to Charles (Leclerc, ed.), Carlos (Sainz, ed.) did well from the start of the weekend in Melbourne, and immediately had a better feeling in the SF-24.’

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