Former F1 driver Christijan Albers believes Lewis Hamilton's failure to secure a race win in the past two seasons will "eat" at the Mercedes driver.
Seven-time World Champion Hamilton picked up the last of his 103 race victories at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - the penultimate race of his epic tussle with Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
But Mercedes has struggled to compete for victories since the dawn of F1's new technical regulations, securing just one win in the meantime, when George Russell won at the 2022 São Paulo Grand Prix.
It left Hamilton publically frustrated at times last season as Red Bull continued to dominate, though hopes are high a new development direction will prove fruitful this term.
Hamilton 'looked quite frustrated'
“For the neutral observer, I hope that Mercedes will come with a better car in 2024,” said Albers, writing in his column for De Telegraaf.
“Because if you look purely at the qualities of the current drivers, I think Lewis Hamilton is the only one who can come close to Verstappen.
“I am mainly talking about the quality of being able to perform consistently and be very stable in lap times during a race. Just like Verstappen, Hamilton is someone who can manage his tyres wonderfully. Assessing certain situations, feeling the rubber; in that respect they are alone.”
“Hamilton looked quite frustrated at the end of the season,” Albers observed. “I can imagine that too.
“Sure, he’s had years where he beat everyone, but has now gone two full seasons without a win. That’s going to eat at you.
“He wants more and more, but struggles with the fact that the Mercedes is not going faster. Then at the end of the year, you are exhausted and tired. He hasn’t had that boost that you need for a while.”