Wary Lewis Hamilton knows Max Verstappen holds all the cards in battle for 2023 title… while the seven-time world champion warns LIVES could be at risk if F1 outlaws tyre blankets later this year

Lewis Hamilton has not ruled out winning an eighth world title during the new season that starts in Bahrain next weekend, but fears Max Verstappen’s Red Bull team hold all the aces. As for the opposition, Mercedes are happy not to be wrestling with a horror car like last year’s. Hamilton, speaking for the first time since driving his new car, said: ‘It is difficult to sum up the test. Asked if he would specify the problems, the 38-year-old said: ‘Not really. ‘I am really proud of the team for continuing to remain positive after a tough year. Beyond last year’s top three, Aston Martin have made a promising start, music to the ears of 41-year-old new boy Fernando Alonso. ‘About 95 per cent of this year’s car is new,’ said Alonso.

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