They say, you tend to perform to your very limit when you’re free of any anxieties and with the thought of your future absolutely secured.
But that may not always apply to everyone.
Now whether the thought about his future Mercedes contract played out on his mind at Spain given it hasn’t quite been prepared and definitely not offered just yet, cannot be said for certain.
Though what can be expressed and that too, without much doubt is that Sir Lewis Hamilton’s performance at Spain was exactly how a true legend of the sport was expected to perform.
Without any element of self doubt and with the constant effort of pushing out there to the maximum!
For that is how champions perform on the grid; resting ever so little on the hype that surrounds them.
And though the victory belonged to Max Verstappen, the man who, given his past result at Barcelona, victory in 2022, victory in 2023, is driving akin to a newfound King of Spain, Hamilton emerging second-best but only to the current defending champion made for a remarkable sight.
Despite the obvious gap to the Red Bull- Verstappen crossing the checkered flag nearly 24 seconds ahead of the Mercedes- Lewis Hamilton was able to outperform drivers several years younger to him.
Rather interestingly, his own teammate, who didn’t take long upon his Mercedes arrival last year to put a staunch fight to the seven-time world champion, was also left in the rear mirrors of Lewis Hamilton’s car.
For all the energy rallying behind two popular Spanish drivers (it being their home Grand Prix), Sainz, still rising in his career while Alonso, an accomplished legend of the sport, both couldn’t even touch Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
That is how far ahead in front was the Stevenage-born racing legend who rightly epitomizes the principle he stands for, “Still, I rise!”
Interacting with the media in the aftermath of the race, Lewis contended with much passion and quintessential simplicity, “You could see today my performance is not affected by that (Mercedes contract), but it’s always something that’s at the back of your mind. The podium today was really, really special. To be able to see the excitement in all the people that have worked for such a long time.”
But could the hard fought podium finish come any easy?
Hamilton, though not the race winner, gathered what became a whopping 193rd career podium at Spain and throughout the entirety of the 66-lap contest remained as the quicker Mercedes driver giving no chance whatsoever to Russell to put up a fight.
Though implicit in his vastly improved performance this last weekend at Barcelona, considering his previous two races yielded a sixth at Miami and a fourth at Monaco, was excellent tyre management.
On a fast charger of track punctuated with several high speed corners, the key was to not lose race pace despite the severity of tyre degradation, which is what allowed Hamilton to stay out in the front.
As a matter of fact, both Red Bulls and Mercedes machines were perhaps playing the mind battle of who pits first.
By as late as lap 21, the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton hadn’t yet boxed for tire change.
In the later stages of the race, of course, it was about Hamilton trying to reduce any gap he could possibly have against the leading man out on the track: Verstappen.
The Spanish GP of 2023 also showed how the Mercedes upgrades that were carried out at Monaco worked well here albeit these being completely different conditions to the street venue.
Better straight line pace and more grip on the high speed corners definitely allowed Lewis Hamilton to maintain a comfortable position out in second.
That he didn’t put a foot wrong and put all those years of experience into work at Calalonia only helped Mercedes’ cause at the end.
But in all, the outing at Spain was about wide eyed smiles and newfound optimism because with Hamilton and Russell’s 2nd and 3rd, Mercedes are no more trailing the Aston Martin side; they’ve actually lunged ahead on the Constructor Standings holding currently a lead of 18 points over Aston Martin.
Mercedes have 152 points at the moment.
As for his Mercedes future and the talk about the contract, here’s what Lewis Hamilton added, “I’m planning to do a multi-year deal with my team. I’m working as hard as I can with this team and I see so much strength within the team. They are still so hungry.”