Lewis Hamilton's stunning swipe at Mercedes boss amid F1 drought

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Lewis Hamilton wants Mercedes to fast track upgrades for their 2021 F1 car.
Lewis Hamilton is urging Mercedes to develop upgrades for his car or risk falling too far behind Max Verstappen in the F1 championship. (Photo by Darko Vojinovic - Pool/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton says the race for the 2021 F1 championship could be over sooner rather than later if Mercedes don't prioritise upgrading their car.

After dominating the turbo-hybrid era of F1, Hamilton and Mercedes saw their hopes fo an eighth title since the introduction of new engine regulations in 2014 fade at Sunday's Styrian GP.

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Red Bull and Max Verstappen dominated the weekend, earning pole and leading from start to finish to extend their championship lead, after winning the previous French GP in similar fashion.

Hamilton cut a somewhat frustrated figure after the race, suggesting the Red Bull had superior 'straight-line speed' and suggesting Verstappen was on the brink of taking an unassailable championship lead.

After qualifying behind his rival, Hamilton feared only rain would save him, and despite his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claiming there was a 60 per cent chance of showers during Sunday's race, the poor weather stayed away.

"They were way too fast for us," Hamilton said.

"Much of this season has been a pretty good battle between the two of us with a very, very close performance of the cars - but obviously that has shifted."

Mercedes has no prioritised developing mid-season upgrades for their 2021 car, instead focusing the team's resources on the 2022 season, which will see a major rules overhaul significantly change the sport.

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Despite this, Hamilton was all but urging Mercedes to put some energy into the 2021 season and help him take the fight to Verstappen.

"We need to find some performance. We really need an upgrade of some sort. We need to push, I don't know where, whether it's just the rear wing or whether it's an upgrade of the engine," Hamilton said.

"If we are not going to develop and improve our car for the rest of the year, this is the result you're going to see."

Max Verstappen dominates for victory in Styrian Grand Prix

Hamilton kept Verstappen honest on Sunday but never threatened to challenge as the Dutchman secured his second win in a week and fourth of the year, increasing his title advantage from 12 points to 18.

Hamilton secured a bonus point for the fastest lap while his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas took third, ahead of Red Bull's Sergio Perez, with Lando Norris fifth for McLaren.

Once again, it was a hugely disappointing day for Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who finished 13th - eight places behind his young British teammate Norris.

In a season of thrills and spills, Sunday's showing in the Styrian mountains was more bore-draw than seven-goal ding-dong.

Max Verstappen won the Styrian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. (Photo by DARKO VOJINOVIC/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Max Verstappen won the Styrian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. (Photo by DARKO VOJINOVIC/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

At the start, pole-sitter Verstappen moved to his right to block Hamilton from making a move and was two seconds clear of the Mercedes following a handful of laps.

Hamilton and Verstappen stopped a lap apart, with the latter emerging from the pits five seconds down the road.

By the end of lap 58, Hamilton was the best part of 10 seconds adrift.

"What shall I do?" he asked his race engineer, Peter Bonnington. "I can't close the gap."

Bonnington could offer no real answer, other than calling on his driver to look after his rubber in the hope Verstappen's would not last. However, the victor lapped the entire field up to fourth.

In a late roll of the dice, Perez stopped for a second time to hunt down Bottas in the battle for the final spot on the podium. The Mexican crossed the line just half-a-second behind the Mercedes driver.

With AAP

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