Ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2017, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton decided to troll Honda’s engines. The drivers were informed about Liberty Media’s takeover from former F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone and asked about what they would like to see in F1.
At the time, McLaren was in its 3rd and final season with Honda, and Fernando Alonso could not resist a jab at the Japanese manufacturer. His wish list included equal engines for all the teams and drivers, which was a thinly veiled dig at Honda’s lack of pace and competitiveness.
Lewis Hamilton, and the other drivers present, chuckled before he replied, “I don’t agree with that one”. Then, Daniel Ricciardo quipped that the engines should not be electric before Hamilton added that the engines should not be from Honda.
How is Honda doing now in Formula One
From being the butt of several jokes, Honda has now begun to prove themselves as serious threats for podiums and race wins. The only difference is that they have teamed up with Red Bull, with McLaren taking on Renault as its partner. With Honda proving their mettle in 2019, Lewis Hamilton was more than likely, forced to eat his own words.
So, in 2019, he changed his tune and admitted that he would love to see a battle between Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda power. Back in August, he even observed that the Honda engines were quicker than Mercedes in a few key areas. What also works in Red Bull’s favor, is that they have a driver of Max Verstappen’s caliber, as well as a young talent like Alexander Albon.
How Tough will 2020 be for Lewis Hamilton?
With Red Bull eager to pull up its socks, as well as Scuderia Ferrari looking threatening, Mercedes cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Similarly, Lewis Hamilton will most likely face stiff competition from teammate Valtteri Bottas, a repentant Sebastian Vettel, a hungry Charles Leclerc, and the equally motivated Verstappen and Albon.