Toto Wolff clarifies Hamilton and Russell driver order for 2023 season

Lewis Hamilton shares epic skydiving footage from Dubai

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Mercedes will not prioritise Lewis Hamilton in an attmept to try and preserve his F1 win record on Sunday, according to boss Toto Wolff. With just one race remaining in 2022, the F1 legend will have one final opportunity in Abu Dhabi to maintain his record of winning at least one race in every one of his seasons in the sport.

The Brit’s tally of 15 consecutive seasons with a win currently ties with Michael Schumacher’s effort, set between 1992 and 2006. The Silver Arrows finally won their first race of the season in Brazil last week, with George Russell taking the chequered flag and Hamilton finishing second

This marked Mercedes’ first 1-2 since 2020 and although Hamilton would love to finish a frustrating season with a victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Wolff’s men will not make this a priority. “I think Lewis doesn’t need any prioritisation, and it’s not what he ever would want,” said Wolff.

“I think that he mentioned before that this record of winning a race in every single season, that is less of a priority for him. It’s more that we’re getting the car back to where it can be, and we’re racing for more race victories next year, and hopefully a championship.”

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Back in September, Hamilton said extending his record isn’t of utmost importance to him but he is keen to help Mercedes challenge for the title again next season. “I’m not focused on the record but of course, I’m trying to get that win this year,” he said in September.

“But the record is not important to me, just because I don’t really care about records in general.” Hamilton recovered from an early collision in Brazil that saw Max Verstappen receive a penalty to finish runner-up, having passed Sergio Perez for P2.

He was ahead of the Dutchman after a safety car restart early in the race, but left a small gap on the inside of a right-hander as he made his way through the Senna Esses. Verstappen tried to take advantage, but the move resulted in them making contact and while the Red Bull driver suffered some damage, Hamilton was unscathed and went on to produce a superb recovery drive.

Following Mercedes’ most successful race weekend of the season so far, Hamilton said it was a “great, great sign” for the team heading into next year, having worked so hard to resolve the core issue with the W13 car.

“It was difficult, because we kept trying and trying and trying, and every time something new came, we still had the problems we had,” said Hamilton.

“So this is really, really huge. We know where our North Star is, we know where we need to put all our efforts in to this winter. I’m so proud of the team for all the incredible hard work. We wouldn’t be able to be up here today without them.”

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