But Barretto believes that Hamilton could be set to return to the very top step after what he saw as the 38-year-old outperforming his W14 last year.
Hamilton to win an F1 race in 2024?
"The 2023 campaign was a far better one for Lewis Hamilton as, while he didn’t score a win for the second year in a row, the seven-time world champion did get more out of his Silver Arrow than it really deserved to secure P3," he wrote for the official F1 site.
"That he was in the fight for P2 – which would have meant beating one of the all-conquering Red Bulls – for much of the year showed how much fight he still has.
"There were flashes of his brilliant best, too, such as his sensational pole in Hungary and drive to second in Austin [before his post-race disqualification] and Mexico.
"Mercedes have finally abandoned the concept that has made the first two years of the latest rules cycle an abject misery but Hamilton believes the team finally 'have a North Star' that he will hope can yield a return towards the form that delivered eight constructors’ championship on the bounce from 2014.
"I expect Hamilton, who will start the first of a new two-year deal next season, to revel in a car that the team hope is more drivable, predictable and – more importantly – faster.
"While a championship fight is almost certainly out of the question, that kind of step should end his two-year absence for a victory."
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