Seven-times Formulation One world champion Lewis Hamilton instructed rivals Pink Bull could possibly be forward of the remainder of the sphere for years to come back after his Mercedes workforce suffered their worst efficiency in additional than a 12 months on Sunday.
The Briton, who’s an honorary Brazilian citizen, completed eighth within the Sao Paulo Grand Prix with workforce mate George Russell retiring.
Crew principal Toto Wolff mentioned Mercedes’ worst exhibiting because the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, the place Hamilton and Russell completed ninth and 14th respectively, was ‘unacceptable’.
“We’re dropping a lot time on the straights, there’s nothing I can do about it, after which we’re simply sliding via the corners,” Hamilton advised reporters at Interlagos.
Mercedes received in Brazil with Russell final 12 months, Hamilton ending second, however no person may beat Pink Bull and Max Verstappen this 12 months.
The Dutch driver has dominated the season, taking a record-extending seventeenth win on Sunday after securing his third world title final month in Qatar with six grands prix and two dash races to spare.
“The Pink Bull is so distant, I feel they’re in all probability going to be very clear for the subsequent couple of years,” mentioned Hamilton, who indicated he was counting down the times to be freed from this season’s automotive.
Formulation One’s subsequent main rule change just isn’t till 2026.
Hamilton is combating Pink Bull’s Sergio Perez for second place general, however the Mexican outscored him in Sao Paulo and now leads by 32 factors with two races remaining.
Wolff mentioned the Brazil race confirmed Mercedes needed to make basic adjustments for subsequent 12 months.
“Completely baffling,” he mentioned of Sunday’ exhibiting. “We’re a correct construction, strong workforce, and that did not appear like a strong workforce.”
Hamilton mentioned that finally all he may do was attempt to stay optimistic, however his boss voiced a unique stance.
“In 13 years I’ve by no means felt optimistic or assured, nevertheless it’s possibly extra my downside and my mind,” mentioned Wolff, whose workforce received eight consecutive constructors’ championships between 2014 and 2021.
“What we all know is that we’re altering the automotive fully.”
Pink Bull boss Christian Horner instructed McLaren, who had Lando Norris end second in Brazil and use Mercedes engines, could possibly be contenders subsequent season.
“It has been completely different individuals at completely different instances throughout the 12 months, so I feel we simply hold specializing in ourselves and whoever’s behind us on the timesheet is nearly irrelevant,” he mentioned.
“So long as we’re on the prime of it, that is what we’re centered on.”