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Hamilton pressures F1 rival who should 'easily' beat him

Hamilton pressures F1 rival who should 'easily' beat him

Hamilton pressures F1 rival who should 'easily' beat him

Hamilton pressures F1 rival who should 'easily' beat him

Lewis Hamilton has placed pressure on Sergio Perez by saying that the Mexican driver "should easily have second" place sewn up in his dominant Red Bull car.

Hamilton is just 30 points behind Perez in the drivers' championship following a difficult race for both drivers at the Qatar Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion crashed out on the first lap of the race after a collision with his team-mate George Russell, but Perez couldn't capitalise, finishing down in 10th after a torrid race.

It added to the pressure on the Mexican's shoulders, after a run of poor results have left him with just one podium in his last five races, despite being in the dominant RB19.

Perez is looking to seal his highest-ever world championship finish, whilst Red Bull are desperate to clinch their first ever one-two in the championship, after Verstappen cruised to his third consecutive world title.

READ MORE: Unstoppable Verstappen is a MAJOR PROBLEM for F1

Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the Qatar GP after colliding with his team-mate
Sergio Perez has struggled to keep up with his world champion team-mate in 2023
Hamilton is looking to get back into the top two in the championship for the first time in the past two seasons

With just five races left, Hamilton knows he's going to need a bit of a helping hand from Perez if he's going to jump into the top two for the first time since the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.

"I mean it’s ultimately largely dependent on Checo's performance moving forwards," Hamilton told media after the Qatar GP.

"As he should easily have second as you know."

"But I'm really proud of where we are, where I've managed to get to. I am really proud of the race performances so far.

"Of course, I want to try and do better and do more and if were to get second it would be amazing. But the main focus is really to try and get second for the team."

Hamilton 'excited' for Ferrari battle

Away from the drivers' championship, there's work to do for Mercedes in the constructors' standings as well.

The Silver Arrows are just 28 points ahead of Ferrari who have been looking stronger in recent races.

Both teams are scrapping for the title of being "best of the rest" after a 2023 season that has been so massively dominated by Red Bull.

"We definitely are not comfortably second," Hamilton continued.

"Ferrari are putting up a really strong fight. They've done an amazing job in the last couple of races.

“It's going to really be a battle. I'm really excited for these next, the last back half of the season, to see if we can really squeeze more juice out of this car and try and finish ahead of them.

"But it's going to take a real team effort. I am really proud of where we are considering where we started at the beginning of the season."

Hamilton and Mercedes will look to extend their gap over Ferrari as F1 heads to Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Verstappen setup quirk which allows Red Bull to make car even faster

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