In the aftermath of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton appears to have all but conceded his chances of challenging for a record eighth world championship over the next two years. He expressed his deep disappointment with Mercedes’ “inexcusable” performance at the event, where Max Verstappen continued his winning streak in a dominant Formula One season.

Hamilton, who has been a dominant force in Formula One, was unable to secure a podium finish in Brazil, crossing the finish line in eighth place, a staggering 63 seconds behind the race leader. To make matters worse, George Russell, Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes, was forced to retire from the race, compounding the team’s misery.

The disappointment in Brazil followed a couple of races where Hamilton and Mercedes showed signs of narrowing the gap to Verstappen’s Red Bull team. Hamilton secured a second-place finish in Austin, only to be disqualified due to a post-race scrutineering issue. In Mexico, he finished as the runner-up again, this time with a legal car but 14 seconds adrift of Verstappen. These performances offered hope, but the Brazilian Grand Prix shattered any illusions of Mercedes’ resurgence.

Instead of closing the gap to Red Bull, Mercedes found themselves trailing behind teams like McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari, and the mid-table Alpine team. The situation became even more embarrassing when Pierre Gasly of the Alpine team outperformed both Hamilton and Russell. Mercedes’ woes on the track were evident, raising serious concerns about their competitiveness.

Lewis Hamilton expressed his growing frustration, stating, “All I can do is try to remain optimistic. But the Red Bull is so far away, they’re probably going to be very clear for the next couple of years. I knew it would be a tough one. In the moment, it is a setback. But as a team, we will just come together and try to push forward.” At 39 years old, Hamilton is aware that his chances of securing an eighth championship may be slipping away before his £100 million two-year deal with Mercedes expires at the end of 2025.

Mercedes’ team principal, Toto Wolff, did not mince words when describing his disappointment. He called the team’s performance “inexcusable” and expressed his dismay at their inability to improve the car’s performance. “The car almost drove like it was on three wheels and not on four,” Wolff lamented. “This car doesn’t deserve a win.”

The race in Brazil had a mildly encouraging start for Hamilton, who moved up from his grid position of fifth to third. However, Mercedes’ lackluster pace soon became evident as Fernando Alonso passed Hamilton early in the race. With George Russell also struggling one place behind Hamilton and unable to get ahead of his teammate, the Mercedes duo found themselves slipping down the grid.

In the face of these challenges, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes appear to be facing an uphill battle to compete with the formidable Red Bull team. The disappointment in Brazil has raised concerns about whether Hamilton can secure an eighth world championship before his contract with Mercedes comes to an end. It remains to be seen if the team can turn their fortunes around and mount a competitive challenge in the coming seasons.